How to Have a Dog-Safe Christmas

christmas dog gifts

By now the decorations are up and an evergreen Christmas tree has become the centerpiece of your home this holiday.

And there are few nicer things than sitting around that tree with your family and enjoying the festive spirit of the holiday. The lights, the ornaments, the smell of pine and the delicately wrapped presents are as close to a universal shared experience as you can get among people who celebrate the holiday.

Those lovely traditions are good for every member of the family, including the furry ones, so long as you stay vigilant and take precautions against the extra dangers your Christmas tree can present.

Here are a few things to keep a watchful eye out for when celebrating the Christmas season:

  • Dogs playing with the tree itself. This one seems like innocent fun – after all, don’t many dogs play with sticks outside without any danger? Aside from the mess that a dog can create by chewing up tree branches and everything they contain, the tree itself is mildly toxic to canines.

The oils from a Fir Tree can cause mild damage to the mouth and stomach, but you should be far more concerned if your dog is ingesting the pine needles, which can wreak havoc on her digestive tract. The needles can cause blockage, irritation and even punctures in the stomach and intestines.

  • How much of a hazard your decorations are. Not all decorations are built for safety. Ornaments and lights made with glass or other breakable substances can be hazards to dogs and humans alike. Broken glass can cut and, in the case of the lights, glass heats up and can burn your dog. Tinsel is an attractive addition to any tree, but if your dog finds it appetizing it can cause blockages that only surgery will repair.

If you do have these types of Christmas decorations, try to keep them elevated on the tree and out of the reach of your dog. Some dangers are always present, such as any light string that can electrocute your dog if bitten through. Be vigilant about your dog playing near them and you should be fine.

  • If your festive plants include Mistletoe, Holly or Poinsettia. All of these plants are traditional decorations for an American Christmas – and all of them are also either mildy or severely poisonous to your dog. Poinsettias are only mildly toxic, but you should contact a vet immediately if your dog has consumed any mistletoe or holly plants.

If you feel strongly about displaying them, then make absolutely certain they are kept out of your dog’s reach.

  • Any presents that include food items. A box and some wrapping paper are not an effective shield against smells that can tempt your dog in presents under the tree. Chocolate is the number one offender here and a big bar of chocolate can be very, very dangerous to your best friend if he gets ahold of it.

Keep any gifts that you know contain food stored away from your dog until Christmas. If you add new gifts to the tree and don’t know what they contain, keep an eye of your puppy. If she takes an interest in any one in particular, remove it until its time to unwrap, just in case.

Most of the concerns outlined above can be avoided by keeping your dogs away from the Christmas tree. If you concentrate on preventing unauthorized play time in the area you should eliminate almost all of your worries.

The easiest and most effective method for most dogs is to set up a barrier around the tree – such as a gate into the living room or a playpen barricade.

There are other ways of keeping your four-legged companions away. Try hot sauce or another strong scent your dog finds unappealing. An invisible fence around the perimeter of the tree can work, as can putting down rough, uncomfortable surfaces that make it unpleasant to walk in the area.

As you improve your Christmas decorations year to year, try and stick with plastic ornaments and lights over glass. Keep all electrical cords as inconspicuous as possible – taping them to the ground or wall when possible.

Good luck with your preparations, then enjoy your Christmas knowing the whole family is safe and sound.

Now go and play!

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EzyDog makes a line of products encompassing the rugged outdoor lifestyle dogs love along with the comfort and style pet owners prefer. EzyDog is the manufacturer of the Original Shock Absorbing Leash that combines the latest in sports technology with the durability dog owners demand. Their unique and highly functional leash systems are designed for comfort, control and safety, paying special attention to dogs that pull or are in training. All EzyDog Products are designed to help both owners and pets get more out of the great outdoors.