Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Hello and welcome to Dog Works Radio. I am Michele Forto, the lead trainer of Alaska Dog Works. On today’s show we are going to talk about holiday safety tips for your dog but first a word about Christmas puppies. Did you know that we do not recommend buying a puppy for Christmas? Buying a puppy is a life-long commitment and should not be an impulse buy. If you know that your family member wants a puppy, why not buy a book on puppy raising, some treats and a leash and put that under the tree. Then, after the busy holiday season you can go pick out a puppy together after talking it over and seeing if now is the right time.

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Now, Christmas tree safety and other holiday tips for your dog.

Keeping your furry family members safe during the holidays can be a difficult task. There are the breakable ornaments, potentially dangerous plants, presents with bows and ribbons, lights that can be chewed—and who could forget the Christmas tree? Let’s take a look at some simple pet safety steps that will allow your furry family members to join in the holiday fun this year while avoiding any trips to the animal emergency room.

  1. Place your Christmas tree in a corner. A quick story first. Robert came home the other day and found that the tree was knocked over and he called me and said, did we have an earthquake? After a little searching he found out that one of our campers, Deshka, had escaped her crate. When we finally got the tree up right, we found her ball! To keep your dog from attempting to jump onto the tree, you can place aluminum foil around the tree base to warn you of an impending tree disaster. Since dogs and Christmas trees are not always the best combination, it may take some ingenuity on your part to keep both parties safe during the holiday season. We have even seen pictures on our Facebook pages where pet owners are using puppy pens as barriers for their trees!
  2. Tinsel can add a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure you hang it up out of your pet’s reach, or for the highest level of pet safety, simply don’t use it. Ingesting tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.
  3. Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, but they can also cause burns on your dog if they become entangled. Additionally, your dog may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire.
  4. Ornaments need to be kept out of reach, too. In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths or other parts of your pet’s body.
  5. For those buying live Christmas trees this year, keep the area around the tree free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles cause stomach upset and can irritate or puncture your pet’s intestines if ingested.
  6. Did you know that holly and mistletoe are poisonous to dogs? If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, they should be kept in an area your pet cannot reach. Poinsettias are also not a great idea, as they can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested.
  7. Edible tree decorations—whether they be ornaments or popcorn strings—are pet safety time bombs waiting to happen. These goodies are just too enticing, and your pet will surely tug at them, knocking down your wonderfully decorated spruce. Not to mention that they are also choking hazards. This goes for putting chocolates under the tree too. One year we came down stairs and found out that one of sled dogs, Bodhi took it upon himself to grab a box of the expensive See’s chocolates. He ripped the wrapping paper off and you could tell he went in for a sample. Some of them that he did not like had little bites in them others were completely gone! We found him on the couch with a sheepish look on his face.
  8. Burning candles should be placed on high shelves or mantels, out of your pet’s way—there’s no telling where a wagging tail or curious cat may end up. Never leave candles unsupervised, and keep your dog away from any areas with open flames or wax. Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.
  9. To prevent any accidental electrocutions, exposed indoor or outdoor wires should be taped to the wall or the sides of the house. Any wires extending away from the wall should be wrapped in hard protective plastic to make them less interesting to your dog.
  10. When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, scotch tape, string, ribbon, plastic pieces or cloth could all cause intestinal blockages. Scissors are another pet safety hazard, and they should be kept off floors or low tables. Be cautious about leaving wrapped gifts with ribbon and bows under the tree where your pets can get to them.

The holidays are always busy and it is important that you make sure that your home is safe for your furry friends and to make sure they don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle. What holiday safety tips do you have? Let us know on our social channels by searching dog works radio and as always check us out at Alaska Dog

Happy Holidays!