Xmas Soon !!!!!

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the halls are beautifully decked with holly. The tree is trimmed and attractively wrapped packages wait beneath it to be opened. Dish after dish of delectable treats sit elegantly on the dining room table. Your home looks like the picture of a perfect holiday.
Add two unsupervised, hungry, excited dogs, and the idyllic setting can turn to chaos. In less time than it takes to say, “Happy Christmas,” the dogs have torn open packages, chewed the ornaments, bowled over a guest, unplugged the flashing lights, pulled the roasting pan from the dustbin, eaten the biscuets, sent Grandma’s good china shattering to the floor and vomited on the rug. Instead of listening to carols, you’re busy looking up the phone number for the emergency vet clinic, maybe to find he too is closed. Best to check this out.

If you don’t want your celebrations to resemble the Griswold’s “Christmas Vacation,” here are some guidelines for dog-proofing your home from holiday hazards.

Holiday [pet] safety isn’t so different from other times of the year, except the dog gets forgotten in the chaos. The biggest hazard is when so much is going on in the house and you wonder, ‘ how’s the dog doing? I haven’t seen him.’ Don’t lose sight of your pet in the midst of celebrating. Use common sense. The most important advice is to remain aware of potential problems.”

Delightful but deadly.

Although some mishaps turn out alright, the holiday season has the potential to inadvertently bring your dog serious illness or injury. What items can cause problems? How can you safely prepare? For a handy reference, check the alphabetic list below.

* Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is moderately toxic, and, drunken dogs are not cute. One ounce of a 20- to 40-proof beverage can cause alcohol poisoning or coma in a small dog.

* Angel hair. Made from spun glass. Irritating to skin, possible low toxicity if ingested, can cause cuts, damage the eyes or create intestinal blockage.

* Artificial snow, flocking. Possibly poisonous, can cause digestive upset; respiratory irritant if inhaled.

Tip: Spray only on upper corners of high windows.

* Candles. Dogs and Cats can be burnt by flame or dripping wax, or have whiskers and fur singed. Fire hazard to house if pet knocks over.

Tip: Save candles for the dining room table and don’t burn where pet is unattended.

* Electric cords. Chewing on cords can cause pets to be shocked, burned, even electrocuted.

Tip: Run through PVC piping, cover (e.g., using rugs) or secure to floor, placing behind or beneath heavy furniture.

* Fasteners for decorations: glue, rubberbands, staples, string, tacks, tape. Can cause mild pain, serious complications, even death if swallowed.

Tip: Store in a secure spot. Discard used items when decorations are removed.

* Fire/fireplaces: ashes, popping wood, fire/colour salts. Bronchial irritation, burns, skin irritation, digestive distress; colour salts are moderately toxic if ingested. Tip: Keep fire screen in front of fireplace while in use. Use second screen on floor-level, below hearth to keep dog further away from sparks. When coals are cool, thoroughly clean fireplace and close tightly with glass or metal doors.

* Food. Bones: Choking, internal punctures, possibly death; Chocolate: Theobromine poisoning (not all dogs are effected but potentially fatal in some), vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity, seizures; Fatty, spicy or sweet foods: gastric upset, dehydration, pancreatitis. Hot foods: can cause burns and mouth or throat ulcerations.

Tip: Don’t share holiday goodies with your dog. If you can’t resist, give a healthy treat instead. Keep your dog out of the dining area and give them their regular dinner while you eat. Don’t leave cooking food unattended; don’t set hot dishes near edge of stove or counter. Don’t leave chocoltes, cookies or other snacks where your dog can reach them.

* Garbage/food prep items: aluminum foil & pans, candy wrappers, paper plates, cups and plastic flatware, plastic wrap, roasting bags, six-pack plastic beverage ring, turkey lacing or skewers. All items can cause abdominal discomfort, intestinal blockage, internal bleeding, even death, if eaten; danger of suffocation or choking also exists; possibility of food-poisoning.

Tip: Store garbage under sink, in closet, or in a fastened container. * Guests. Add to the noise, confusion and stress for your pet. Dogs can be stepped on or unsupervised children can injure them. Pets can escape when visitors come and go. Tip: “Guests are more likely to feed dogs than owners. Multiple guests each feeding ‘just a little bite’ adds up to quite a lot of food. Advise your guests not to feed your dog,

Also, if guests are uncomfortable around dogs, or if there will be activity that causes your dog anxiety, board them for the holidays. At home, don’t put dogs to bed in guests’ rooms. Keep your dog in his or her regular spot. If their are is in a location where the dog may become distressed, move them to a quieter room.

* Lights, decorative. Dogs and Cats can become tangled in the strands. Can cause burns and cuts. Same hazards as electric cords. “Bubbling” lights, made of methylene chloride, can be moderately toxic. Tip: String together through interior of tree; run connecting cord underneath tree skirt.

* Ornaments: edible or “food strings,” garlands, glass, hooks, straight pins. Food ornaments can be moderately toxic, causing gastric upset. All items have the potential to cause fatal complications if ingested. Tip: Use ornaments that your dog and cat finds uninteresting. Instead of hooks, use decorative ribbon to tie on ornaments.

* Pet decorations. Never place on pets. May cause choking or strangulation. Tip: Buy a holiday-print collar for your dog. If you use a costume on your pet, do not leave them unsupervised.

* Potpourri, aerosol fragrance, incense, simmer pots. Nasal or respiratory irritation, skin rash, stomach upset, burns; can also cause stomach upset if eaten because it often contains cones, needles and berries that can be toxic. Tip: Use where dog is not room.

* Plants: Christmas cactus, hemlock, holly, ivy, mistletoe, poinsettia. Range from mildly upsetting to extremely toxic. Can cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, coma, central nervous system or cardiac problems, even death. Tip: Spray leaves with Bitter Apple repellant. Immediately pick up and discard dead leaves, stems, or berries.

* Ribbon, trim, polystyrene foam packaging, wrapping foil or paper. Dangerous if eaten. Tip: Wrap packages in area away from dog. Collect and discard all waste. Put wrapping supplies securely away when finished using. Give dogs their own packages to open. Wrap loosely in plain paper and supervise unwrapping.

* Tinsel. Can cause intestinal strangulation, obstruction, internal cuts and abrasions.

* Toys. Children’s toys have small parts that dogs can swallow and cause choking, gastric distress or intestinal blockage. Extensive ingestion of pet toys, such as pig ears or large rawhide bones, can also cause digestive upset or choking. Tip: Provide dog with appropriate toys. Supervise playtime, particularly with unusual or untried toys.

* Trees (live, including balsam, cedar, juniper, fir and pine). Sap or preservatives may be mildly toxic, causing mouth or stomach irritation. Needles cannot be digested and may puncture intestines. Rambunctious pets may knock over tall trees, cutting themselves on broken decorations. Tip secure the top of the tree with some nylon cord to the ceiling, then the tree cannot fall down.  Male dogs may perceive tree as “indoor plumbing” and urinate on branches. Tip: Place in room away from dog or put decorative fencing around. Cover floor under tree with plastic. Anchor to floor with sturdy weights on stand or tie to wall or ceiling to prevent tipping. Decorate only the higher limbs, leaving lower ones bare. Fasten all decorations tightly to branches.

In general, don’t place decorations within your dog and cat’s reach or where they can climb to them. Consider keeping your pets out of the rooms you decorate and do only one or two rooms. Put a baby gate across the door to keep your dog out but allow visual access to where the family will be. Remind children not to leave food, toys or decorations in places where the dog can get them. Don’t let young children and dogs play together unsupervised during such a hectic time. Also, provide a quiet place where your dog can get away from the hustle and bustle.

Pets may have a hard time adjusting to the increase in activity. They may not handle the stress well. Scheduling a few minutes each day to play with your dog can make the holidays easier for them.”

An annoying thing about the holidays is the lack of time. It’s important to find time to exercise your dog. Otherwise, he will be more likely to misbehave. An exercised dog is happier and is less likely to get into trouble.

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