Dogs and Holiday Decorations: A Tough Match

The holidays bring with them many beautiful traditional decorations, and your house may be starting to fill up with them. But when you think about it, decorations can often be dangerous for your dog. Candles, holiday plants, and even Christmas ornaments all pose safety risks. Here are some tips to keep your house festive without sacrificing your dog’s safety.

dog with christmas tree

Avoid Poisonous Plants

A frequently overlooked danger during the holidays is the presence of plants in the house that are toxic to dogs (and to cats, too). Popular holiday plants like mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly are all toxic if ingested by your pets. Instead of opting for live plants, decorate your house with fake plants instead.

Carefully Position the Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are endlessly entrancing to pets, and your dog will probably be fascinated by your Christmas tree. While it is best to keep the dog out of the room where you set up your tree (using baby gates or keeping the room’s doors closed is a great way to do this), it is important to position your tree carefully if your dog will be accessing the room. Put the tree in a corner to give it maximum stability, and use a wide tree stand to help keep it from being knocked over. Training your dog can also allow him to be safely in the room with the tree.

Choose Christmas Ornaments Carefully

If your dog might have access to your Christmas tree, then you need to be particularly careful when you decide what to decorate the tree with. Christmas tree lights can potentially shock your dog if he chews through the cord, and edible decorations, like cranberries or popcorn, are too tempting for your dog to pass up. If he eats those decorations, though, he could also ingest the string, possibly causing an intestinal blockage.

Non-digestible decorations are another source of possible trouble. Ornaments may seem like playthings to your dog, but if they are not easily digested, or if they shatter in your dog’s mouth, they could cause serious injury. Remember that tinsel, if ingested, can also cause intestinal blockages in your dog, and he will need emergency surgery to remove it. If you suspect that your dog has ingested an ornament or tinsel, you should treat it as a health emergency and contact your dog’s veterinarian right away.

Monitor Lit Candles

If your decorations include lit candles, then position them up high on a sturdy piece of furniture that your dog cannot shake or knock over. Only burn candles when you are present to supervise, and to be extra safe, keep your dog out of the room where the candles are located.

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, keep your dog’s safety in mind. No one wants their dog to be sick or injured, and many of the health issues that dogs encounter around the holidays can be avoided.


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