A quick guide discussing foods, plants and items dogs should avoid. Plus ways to keep your dog comfortable.
5 min Read
Table of contents
The holidays can be stressful. Having to rush your dog to the vet doesn’t help. So let’s look at ways to avoid some holiday dangers and minimize stress for you and your dog.
Caution : If your dog has consumed any of these and appears to be ill or in distress, contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic. The ASPCA maintains a 24/7 emergency poison line. 888-426-4435.
( A consultation fee may apply )
1. Foods Dogs Should Avoid
While these foods should be avoided, if your dog does eat a small amount he/she is probably going to be fine. Just make sure to monitor your dog for warning signs. Remember you can always call your veterinarian to make sure.
- Chocolate. A delight at the holidays, but not for our dogs. Toxicity varies based on the type of chocolate & size of dog. It is best to consider all chocolates off limits for your dog.
- Onions, Chives, Leeks, Garlic. Can cause GI upset and damage to the red blood cells.
- Alcohol. Even small amounts can be poisonous to your pup.
- Caffeine. Can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause cardiac arrhythmia.
- Macadamia Nuts. Are toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.
- Milk. Not toxic but can cause GI upset if your pup is allergic or lactose intolerant.
- Xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener and has been linked to liver failure in dogs.
- Yeast Dough. Can cause dangerous bloating.
- Grapes and raisins. Questionable amounts can be toxic and there seems to be individual sensitivity in dogs. Some dogs can eat a few without consequence and others are poisoned after ingesting just a few. Best to steer clear.
- Fatty meats. Such as bacon and dark meat poultry, can easily cause pancreatitis.
- Apples. The fruit is fine to eat but the seeds are not as they contain cyanide.
Sometimes you want to share a bit of that special meal with your dog. The white meat of turkey and chicken is usually fine. You want to stay away from the fatty foods as they can upset your pup’s stomach and you may find yourself on the way to the veterinarian.
Also, stay away from highly salted foods and sweets.
NO cooked bones. Cooked bones become brittle and break into sharp pieces. They can do tremendous damage when passing through your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Tip : A little bit of white meat, a bit of plain sweet potato and a few green beans can be a nice treat for your pup. Just don’t over do it.
2. Plants Dogs Should Avoid
There are a number of plants that can be toxic to dogs. Here are the most common plants we have during the holidays.
- Calla lily
- Lily of the Valley
An extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants can be found here: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants?field_toxicity_value%5B0%5D=01&page=11
3. Items Dogs Should Avoid
If your dog is going to be out and about with guests, make sure to keep a watchful eye. Dogs will get into purses, trash cans and refrigerators. Here are some additional Items dogs should avoid this holiday season.
- Tinsel, String and Ribbon. Lovely and festive but dangerous if ingested. They have the potential to get bunched up in the intestines, causing a blockage and even cutting through the intestines. If you see tinsel, ribbon or string from your dog’s mouth or other end, do not attempt to remove it. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Christmas Ornaments. Glass ornaments can fall and break, exposing your dog to cuts. Ornaments your dog might eat can lead to an obstruction. Make sure to hang ornaments up higher where your pup cannot reach them.
- Holiday Lights. We love the look of the sparkling lights. Make sure to keep lights, batteries and extension cords out of your dog’s reach. Batteries can be very dangerous if chewed or swallowed. Chewing or biting electrical cords can cause electric shock possibly requiring immediate attention from your veterinarian.
- Christmas Trees. If you enjoy a live cut tree, it is important to protect the water in the tree stand from your dog. Many times preservatives are added to the water and the tree sap can make your dog ill if he drinks from the stand. Be sure your dog does not chew on the pine needles as they can be quite irritating and cause vomiting or diarrhea. Make sure your tree is secured so it can not be knocked over by your pup.
Ways to keep your dog comfortable
Some dogs enjoy all the excitement the holidays bring, while others not so much. Here are some easy ways to help your dog with holiday stress.
The day of, make sure to get in some good exercise, a long walk, or a trip to the park. Releasing energy in a positive, healthy way is so important for your dog.
We all love relaxing to soft music. Hours of calming music for dogs can be found by searching YouTube.
A gated room where your dog can safely watch from can be a possibility. This may be a good solution as long as your dog is not a jumper or will attempt to push the baby gate over.
This can be a comfortable, safe place for a crate trained dog. If your dog has not been crate trained, a busy holiday is not the time. The crate is like your dog’s bedroom. There are a number of helpful videos on YouTube for crate training.
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Chew toys can help reduce stress. Be sure they are safe and appropriately sized for your dog. I have a few in my store.
Dogs, especially puppies, will get into anything & everything. Being aware of common dangers is important, but becoming a reliable, strong, confident pack leader is just as important. Assuring that your dog is safe during the holidays is a great example of why dog obedience training is so important. Exercises such as “Leave it”, “Down”, “Stay” and “Come” can help keep your dog safe and happy as you both enjoy the holidays.
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