With so much to do for families everywhere just before Christmas begins, our cherished fur friends know something is happening and all the excitement and stress will be picked up by them. They are highly tuned and sensitive to all we do and changes in their environment. So I thought it wise to pick up on a few things that might not occur to many that are simple to correct.

Christmas Trees. Be very aware of all the potential dangers for a puppy who will see the gifts under the tree and all the baubles and ornaments as – F.U.N…in capitals. So think before you put chocolate ornaments and candy canes on a tree as decorations even high up, as strings break.  A dog can bring the whole tree down trying to reach a chocolate Santa ornament. And the pine needles that fall off a real tree can stick into their paws…ow!

Additionally, many live Christmas trees are sprayed to stop the needles falling and most farmers will have sprayed them with pesticides during their growth. These are carcinogenic and not good for any form of life but it’s a trade-off of dangers. Same with fire retardants on fake trees.

Dogs and chocolate: the danger is good quality chocolate containing the toxic chemical theobromine and caffeine too, but it takes eating a lot to send up red flags. Hang on for symptoms of hyperactivity/vomiting to show before running to the vets for a stomach pump.

Tell children absolutely not to share their sweets/cakes with their pets as the sugar will harm their teeth – dogs can’t brush their own teeth.

Wash new plastic treats and toys first before giving to your pet – they’re covered in chemicals.

It’s just good to be aware.

Red holly berries often used in wreaths and decorations are toxic and will cause illness if swallowed.

Heavy perfumed scents will distress your pets. Poinsettias are poisonous as well.

Foam, fake snow and silver spray – there are so many things we need to be conscious of using – not just for dogs but young children too.

I suggest to families to put up a stairgate barrier across the door to where the Christmas tree is and only let the dog in when accompanied so they can be carefully watched and be vigilant.

Christmas lunch leftovers given to dogs can give a dog nasty diarrhea and tummy problems that will have you on your knees cleaning up and to the vet rapidly. In my experience, few dogs can tolerate chicken without it giving them squirt poops. Turkey can have the same effect – any radical change of diet can be a problem. A dog with a lot of wind is not fun either and it is not their fault – it’s ours.

There’s a lot of fat and salt and possibly sugar too, in our Christmas food.  I suggest buying in before Christmas one of the dog kaolin probiotic products called Logic Firm or Pro-Kollin or the stronger Pro-Max ready to be administered if there’s a problem. It’s what the vet will probably prescribe. And have some bags of rice ready to boil up with white fish in the freezer for a simple diet – rather than paying for the expensive dry food a vet may prescribe the main ingredients of which are:  rice, fish, pea protein and chicken pulp (the stuff swept off the floor of a chicken coop – poop, feathers, etc).

HAPPY CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR TO all and especially our beloved four-legged companions.

About The Author

Julia C Parsons, mother of two living in the UK, has come late to life as a dog person although she owned her own 3 dogs for 16 years. Having begun a new career as a successful home dog boarder 5 years ago to help cover the costs of her empty nest home, she realised how much misinformation there was generally about understanding dog behaviour, their food and nutritional needs as well as the many conflict of interests of the veterinary profession, that may be shortening and not enhancing a dog’s life. Feeling a strong, instinctive empathy with our four-legged friends, she wants to do what she can to be their voice and dispel the many myths surrounding our special companions. @theuksdogblogger

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