Any time of the year when we celebrate holidays or the usual routine and behaviours we tend to follow every day no longer apply, there is the risk of inadvertently introducing hazards or problems that can have an impact on our dogs. As long as you’re aware of these and are conscientious about taking reasonable steps to safeguard against them, keeping your dog safe shouldn’t be stressful or time consuming, but it is something you need to bear in mind at such times.
Christmas is of course perhaps the time of year when the most upheaval goes on within the home and outside of it too, and for many dog lovers and dogs too, this is a really exciting and very enjoyable time of year.
There is no reason why your dog can’t get into the festive spirit and be involved in your family’s festivities just like the rest of you; but when it comes to Christmas day in particular and all the festive food that we have around, you do need to take special care to protect it from your dog, and vice versa!
Whilst most of us have all sorts of unusual delicious food in the house in the run-up to Christmas itself, there’s even more of it around on Christmas day than usual, and given the festive high spirits, many more chances for your dog to get their paws on some of it!
A great deal of our favourite Christmas foods are bad for dogs and some is outright toxic, so you should be really careful about ensuring that nothing you enjoy on Christmas day accidentally ends up resulting in a visit to the vets.
With this in mind, this article will cover some of the most important elements of Christmas day food, dogs and safety, and highlight a few common and easy to avoid Christmas food dangers where dogs are concerned that you might not already have thought of. Read on to learn more.
Foil-wrapped chocolate tree decorations are delicious, and your dog will almost certainly think so too. However, chocolate is toxic to dogs, and so if you hang decorations of this type on the lower branches of your Christmas tree, you run the risk of your dog eating it.
Not only is the chocolate itself a problem, but your dog will also eat the foil and ribbon too in most cases, compounding the potential risk. Unless your tree is both very high and very stable (stable enough that your dog could not push it over if they stood up against it with their full weight) and nothing will fall from it if shaken, you might be better off keeping food-based decorations off the tree entirely.
Trays of nuts, sweets, dried fruit, crisps, and all manner of other assorted nibbles make up a big part of Christmas day for many of us, but make sure they don’t make for a dangerous windfall on the day itself for your dog! Some nuts, many dried fruits like raisins, chocolate once more and also, sweets that contain artificial sweeteners are all toxic to dogs, and even if nothing on your tray is technically toxic, your dog won’t fare too well in general if they eat everything they can reach anyway!
Whether it’s your freshly cooked turkey cooling down, the discarded turkey carcass, or anything else food-related your dog might like the smell of, leaving it unsupervised on a table or counter in reach of your dog – even for just a second – is asking for trouble!
Unless you’re absolutely sure that your dog would not be able to reach it by some distance even if they jumped or climbed, keep food off tables and counters unless someone is keeping an eye out!
Nobody really wants to crack on with the washing up or loading the dishwasher after a big Christmas dinner, but do ensure that you clear dirty plates from the table when you leave it, or close your dog out of the room. Plates that have bones, gravy, or a range of other things on them after your meal will be very appealing to your dog, who once more might ingest something they shouldn’t.
Many families want to give their dog a Christmas dinner of their own, and if you do this, plan it carefully. Don’t give your dog too much of anything, and be vigilant to pick only things that are dog-safe.
Remember that things like gravy that contain onion can be toxic to dogs, so think about every single thing that makes it into your dog’s bowl, whether this is a meal of their own or scraps from your meal.
Don’t fill your dog’s bowl up just to save mess either, and moderate your dog’s food intake as normal.
Finally, children and dogs are often adept partners in crime. Ensure your children know not to share sweets or scraps with your dog and that this could be dangerous to them, and also if you have visitors over, ensure that they – and particularly any visiting children – follow the same rules.