We know it’s tough to helicopter parent when there’s so much going on this time of year, but there are some things that you simply need to make sure you’re hyper vigilant about for the safety of your dog. And these are things that you definitely can plan for, to avoid emergency vet visits.
So here are our vets best tips to keep your dog safe this festive season:
1. Know what’s toxic, and avoid. Did you know that many Christmassy foods are toxic to dogs? Chocolate, sultanas, raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts just to name a few, and these are key ingredients in many dishes such as mince pies, plum pudding, Christmas cake, sweet platters, stuffing for meats, and fruit platters. If these are reachable to your dog – i.e a low table, pantry, fridge – they are at risk. Make sure fridges and bins are closed, pantries locked, and food stored and served high. Alcohol is also a no. There is actually no safe amount of alcohol that your dog can consume. So avoid all together.
2. Feed normally. Avoid the urge to overfeed and treat. You need to take control here on behalf of your pooch, because really, will they ever say no?!!! When dogs eat too much of something they are not conditioned to, or that is rich and high in fat (such as barbeque meats, ham etc), they will commonly become ill. Overindulgence in dogs can lead to:
*Diarrhoea and even
*Pancreatitis (which can be deadly).
3. Be fireworks ready. Have a plan for anxious pets. Loud noises such as thunder and fireworks are a common source of anxiety and without fail freaked out, anxious dogs escape the home and often run into danger, and into our emergency clinics. If your pet is affected by anxiety you need to make sure they are secure in the home and that they have a safe space that they can retreat to for comfort. An anxious dog cannot be safely left alone in these cases, even (especially) when medicated. It almost goes without saying, but always ensure your pet’s microchip details have your current contact details, just in case.
4. Be Christmas tree wise. Many things can go wrong here – infections from drinking bacteria loaded stagnant water the tree is sitting in, electrocution from chewing tree lights, obstruction or injury from eating glass or other decorations including tinsel, and gut irritation from eating pine tree needles. So your safety plan includes:
*Cover around the tree stand water
*Plastic cover around the electric cord of the lights
*No glass decorations (keep to plastic or non-breakable)
*Secure decorations so they can’t fall or be easily pulled off
*Tinsel up high where it can’t be reached (or none!)
*Tree must be stable so it won’t be easily pushed over
5. Keep battery containing presents away. Dogs are naturally inquisitive (some more than others, and particularly puppies) so toys including batteries are a danger. Swallowed batteries can cause life threatening illness in dogs, so these can’t be reachable or left under the tree.