The holidays are just around the corner, with the weather getting cooler little by little, and the year’s end getting closer and closer each day. Not only is the holiday season equal parts exciting and stressful for humans, some may not be aware that it could pose dangers to man’s best friend as well.
Surprising holiday dangers for dogs
1) Holiday food
What would the holidays be without the rich and savory meals served in every gathering? Parties and reunions as often filled with rich, fatty foods like ham and turkey—an indulgence that some are willing to enjoy for the sake of the holiday season. However, humans are not the only ones who are at a risk of suffering from health diseases related to these foods. Dogs who find their way into these foods or receive a bite of these sumptuous treats as a holiday present can experience stomach problems and even pancreatitis. Their bodies are not prepared to process these foods, which could cause concerns for their health. Hard as it may be, don’t give in to the puppy eyes! Instead, top their bowl of dog food with a bit of a healthy treat like carrots or cheese. If your dog has eaten any rich food and started showing symptoms like abdominal pains, diarrhea, and vomiting, contact your vet as soon as possible.
2) Ingesting bones
Chicken and turkey are often served during the holiday season, and the bones are usually tossed out at the end of the meal. When dogs see these poultry bones, they get tempted to chew on them or even eat them! The problem with poultry bones is that they become very brittle when cooked. Once they become brittle, they can easily break into smaller pieces, which can splinter or puncture the dog’s intestines and stomach. Dogs are meant to chew on raw, meaty bones. If your dog has eaten turkey or chicken bones, monitor their behavior and contact your vet if you notice any symptoms like vomiting, choking, or abnormal behavior.
Beer and alcohol can be toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Be very careful when disposing these beverages and make sure that your dog does not get into them, even just a drop.
A lot of savory dishes use onions as main ingredients. However, onions have thiosulphate, a substance that can damage the red blood cells in dogs. Exposure to this substance can cause anemia in dogs, so be sure to keep foods with onions away from your pup.
Another culprit is chocolate. The theobromine and caffeine in chocolates can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heartbeat, muscle tremors, seizures, and increased urination among dogs. Toxicity can also occur within the first 24 hours of ingesting the chocolate, with worse effects the darker the chocolate is. The amount of chocolate ingested in relation to the body weight of the dog can also affect how serious the damage is. If your dog eats chocolate, contact your vet.
Someone may be preparing some doughy snacks in the kitchen, and the dog might just be there looking at what’s happening. Be careful not to give your dog any type of dough, especially if it contains yeast. Yeast causes dough to rise, and if the dough expands in the dog’s stomach, it will produce gas throughout the digestive system. This can result in stomach pains, and even a ruptured stomach or intestines.
7) Raisins and grapes
Raisins and grapes are known to cause renal failure in dogs, so make sure to keep your four-legged friend away from grapes and raisins.
Some dogs find their way to leftovers and help themselves with the smorgasbord of all the food that’s left. However, this leaves them susceptible to a number of risks. Moldy food can definitely make them sick, and so can the other random pieces of food that they might ingest, like the turkey bones and other dangerous foods mentioned earlier. Just to be on the safe side, it’s best to keep your dog away from the garbage.
9) Other non-food items
Wagging tails can hit lit candles, which would definitely be an unfortunate accident for any dog and dog owner. Keep a screen around the fireplace especially if the dog is left unsupervised. Holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can be toxic to different pets, and must be kept out of reach. And, as your family gathers around the Christmas tree to open up presents, make sure that the dog does not get any chance to eat the wrappers and ribbons.
How to avoid these dangers
All these potential dangers may sound like the holiday season could be a really treacherous time for dogs, but in reality, these dangers can be seen even on regular days. What this means is that dog owners just need to be vigilant with what their pets eat, and make sure that they stay away from anything that can harm them.
During the holidays, it’s important that your dog gets food that is right for them (to distract from the other good human foods they’ll be smelling!), whether that is a breed-specific type of food, small dog food, a food for medium-sized breeds, or food for big breeds. This will prevent your dog from eating your food or from digging through the trash for some tasty scraps.
You should also consider crating your dog or having them outdoors (if weather-appropriate), especially if you will have company over. This is a good way to keep your dog safe since they won’t be underfoot or tempted to sneak into harmful foods during your celebration.
The holiday season is a great opportunity to relax and spend quality time with our loved ones. While the season can cause stress to some people, it shouldn’t rob us of the real essence of the holiday. If you are a dog owner, you might want to consider the dangers that the holiday season can bring to pets, and take precautionary measures to make sure that the holiday is a great time for you and your pet.