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The Dangers Of 'Tis Season

It’s the holiday season where everything smells good, people are looking forward to wrapping presents, cooking foods, decoration the tree and many people are also in a hurry to get things ready and tend to forget some things that possibly could jeopardize the safety of their pets.

While the holiday season can be oh so wonderful, it poses many dangers to our pets if you are not aware of your surroundings and I’m sure a visit to the emergency room with your pet would be the last thing you would want to do during this holly jolly time with friends and family.

So here are a few tips on what to look out for to keep your pets happy and safe.

Poisonous foods

Do you like to bake or are you cooking a grand holiday dinners? Be aware that many foods such as chocolate, onions and others can be highly toxic to your pet. Don’t feed your pets table scraps as they may include seasoning or food that is not good for them; and don’t let your company distract your whit chit chat while you are preparing food and your dog is around, that turkey might be gone from the counter faster than you think!

While in some cases it may only cause on an upset stomach, it could also keep you up at night because you have a dog with explosive diarrhea/vomiting or it could even be life threatening.

The Pet Poison Helpline is a great resource if you do suspect poisoning in your pet but are unsure if a trip to the ER is necessary. They will be able to give advice according to the amount ingested in ratio to your pet’s size, age and weight. Please know that a credit card is needed and a fee applies to access their services.

The Pet Poison Helpline however has great resources online and lists of foods and plants to keep away from your pets.

Christmas Decorations

While it is a great joy to decorate the Christmas tree with your family, be aware what you decorate it with.

Tinsel - Can be extremely dangerous when swallowed and cause internal damage .

Because of its sparkling nature pets do like to play with them. If yo

Salt Ornaments – Did you make some salt ornaments this year or have some keep sake's from previous years? If you hang them on your tree, make sure to hang them up high where your pets can not reach them. Salt ornaments are extremely poisonous to pets and can be fatal.

Christmas gifts

If you like to place Christmas gifts under the tree early, make sure to not put any gifts under the tree that contain edible things as your pet may sneak up and unwrap them to get to the yummie things in there which are very likely to be poisonous (because we all like to gift chocolate right?).

Other gifts as well could be dangerous to your pet if they ingest foreign objects because they were naughty and couldn’t wait to unwrap the gifts on Christmas morning.

As a general rule, don’t leave your pet unsupervised around the Christmas tree. If that’s not possible you could put an X-Pen around the tree so your pet can’t get to it (if you have a cat, you may want to cover the whole tree LOL)

Snow banks

Have you got snow banks in your from the snow that has been blown around in your yard? If they are close to the fence, they are a great escape route for your adventurous pet or pets scared by fireworks.

Festivities / Gatherings / Fireworks

Once Christmas is over, the next holiday is right around the corner! The happy new year!!!

Often times fireworks are being let off a few days early and after the jump into the new year as well.

Many dogs are scared by the sounds and lights of fireworks and every year many dogs bolt from their homes ending in devastating stories of dogs missing and in severe cases found dead due to being hit by cars or frozen to death. This is something that absolutely can be prevented with some precautions.

To keep your pets safe during the times fireworks are likely to be let off, ensure to always keep your pet on leash (day or night) on walks but also if you just let them out in the yard; You would be surprised how high your dog can jump over a fence or through what little gate wholes they fit if scared.

Inside the house close blinds so your animal can’t see the fireworks. Maybe have some music or the TV going so they don’t hear the bangs that may scare them.

If possible, stay with your scared pet during that time but if you must leave the house to attend celebrations, crate your pet at home so they are not pacing around at home stressed and possibly hurt themselves. A crate trained dog will be able to relax much easier in the crate if it is something they know as their safe place. Click here for our helpful crate training video

Leave your pets at home and don’t bring them with you to outside festivities where there are fireworks, people in costumes or simply large crowds of people. As normal as these things are for your, all the mentioned can be very scary and extremely stressful to an animal.

Same thing applies to in house celebrations. You may have good intentions by wanting to include your furry family member into the festivities, but leaving them at home or separating them into a calmer area of the house might actually make them much happier and content during these stressful times.

We have several dates on our calendar for upcoming Okanagan Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid courses where we teach not only more about how to keep your pets safe, but also how to approach a pet emergency effectively before it's too late! Check here for more info

We wish you a very merry holiday season with you and your pets!

Stay safe!

About the author:

Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training serving the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia from Osoyoos to Penticton and Kelowna with result based dog training. Certified dog trainer, certified pet first aid instructor, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my goal to help enhance the lives of as many dogs (and their owners) as possible. Your dog is my priority and I’m as committed to your dog as you are. But I can only help those who sincerely want to help their dogs and not only themselves.”

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