Holiday Dog Safety
Holiday celebrations are fun, but sometimes the things humans eat and decorate with are not always dog friendly. To keep your pup safe during the holidays, we’ve compiled a list of foods and décor that your dog should try to steer clear of.
Foods Dogs Should Avoid
- Chocolate. Dog owners are constantly warned about chocolate’s toxicity to dogs. During the holidays, when there tends to be more chocolate in homes, store them in areas that dogs can’t find or reach. “Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your dog, and the amount they eat, it's safer to consider all chocolate off limits for dogs.”
- Sweets and baked goods that humans consume are often too rich for dogs. If you want to bake holiday treats for your dog that are “safe”, check out our easy DIY holiday dog treat recipes. They are just as delicious but do not contain the artificial sweetener, xylitol, often found in baked goods and candy that has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs. Even the smallest dose can be dangerous.
- Raw bread dough made with yeast can cause problems for dogs (and most pets). When a dog eats bread dough, the yeast in the dough continues to make it rise, which distends the stomach and releases toxic levels of ethanol. This leads to painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
- Random table scraps. Many human foods including onions, raisins, grapes, gravy with a lot of additives are hazardous for dogs. During the holidays, we tend to consume extra-rich foods, but for dogs, these scraps can be hard for dogs to digest; and the wrong scraps can cause pancreatitis or kidney failure.
Holiday Decorations and Plants that are Hazardous to Dogs
- Flowers and festive plants can have negative side effects if your dog gets ahold of them. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to dogs who decide to eat them. Poinsettias can be mildly toxic as well. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers a list of plants that are toxic (& non-toxic) to dogs.
- Potpourris. Like flowers and festive plants, keep potpourris away from dogs. Some contain essential oils and cationic detergents that can severely damage your dog’s mouth and cause stomach issues.
- Christmas trees. If you have a hyper or energetic dog that likes to jump on things, consider tying your tree to the ceiling or a doorframe. Some dogs get excited by the tree skirts, ornaments (especially if they are made from food), lights and start pulling and tugging.
- Water additives for Christmas trees can be hazardous to dogs if they like to slurp random water around the house. It’s been recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association to avoid adding aspirin, sugar, or anything to the water for your tree if you have any pets in the house.
- Ornaments, tinsel and other holiday decorations can cause issues if you have a dog that likes to chew and ingest things. To avoid intestinal blockages, try to clean up broken ornaments quickly and keep food-based ornaments out of reach.
- Electric lights. If you have a chewer, be mindful of the placement of cords when decorating around the house.
In case of an emergency, you can always call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435 for assistance, but it’s always a good idea, especially during the holidays, to have your vet’s emergency number or a 24/7 vet clinic number on hand.
Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association, Pet Poison Hotline, and American Kennel Club.