Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Top Holiday Environmental Hazards for Your Dog

Authors Labrador "Onyx" on Top of Cadillac Mt. 
Best friend, hiking buddy, confidant, dogs are such a critically important part of our lives, as responsible pet owners, it pays huge to understand your dogs needs, as they relate to the holiday season. Even the best behaved dogs can have their manners tested as new treats, strange visitors and other distractions enter the household. While a vast majority of these interactions will be benign, to properly protect your pet, owners should be prepared. Preparation comes in the form of having the right knowledge, skills and even equipment, to ensure that your holiday's are peaceful and not disrupted by a emergency trip with Fido to the veterinarian!

The holidays are fun, festive times filled with things like parties, gift exchanges, and decorating, and the cold weather causes most people to send a lot of their time indoors. As a dog owner, you’re unlikely to overlook man’s best friend during the hustle and bustle, but many people are unaware of the holiday hazards to their dogs that they bring into their homes. What are these common environmental dangers? And what can do owners do - short of erecting a giant DIY dog fence and barricading the Christmas tree - to protect their dogs?

Toxic Holiday Plants
Bringing plants into your home is a great way to bring in some of the life of the outdoors, but you must be particularly careful when you have a dog. Many common houseplants - especially the ones most common at the winter holidays - are toxic to dogs. The safest bet is to opt for the artificial versions, if possible. If not, it’s important to place these plants out-of-reach of your dog, and be sure to clean up any fallen foliage from the ground before your dog does.

Mistletoe will upset your dog’s stomach, and it can cause heart collapse in severe cases. Poinsettia can upset your dog’s stomach, too, and cause severe mouth blisters. Holly can cause pain and vomiting. All of these plants can be fatal if your dog ingests too much of them. Hibiscus and lily plants can also be toxic to dogs. You should also make sure these plants are not growing inside your yard or within the boundaries of your electronic dog fence.

Christmas Tree Concerns
An authentic Christmas tree is the most iconic decoration, but bringing one inside your home creates some unique concerns if you have a dog. Pine needles are toxic to dogs, especially in large amounts (although smaller dogs are more at risk). Even in small amounts, pine needles can irritate your dog’s mouth or stomach. Don’t allow your dog to chew on the branches of an artificial tree, either, because the chemicals used to produce the tree could be toxic.

The water inside your Christmas tree stand is also a potential danger. Stagnant water always breeds bacteria, and any chemicals or pesticides used in growing your Christmas tree will pool inside the stand. If your dog drinks the water, they can become very sick or even die, so it’s a good idea to change the water on a daily basis.

If your dog enjoys chewing on electrical cords, light strands can pose a problem. Glass ornaments, tinsel, and ornament hooks can also cause serious internal damage if ingested. If your dog won’t leave the tree alone, a good solution is an indoor electric fence for dogs. Placing an invisible dog fence around your tree will block your dog’s access to it. Your dog will be kept at a safe distance, and you won’t have to make any changes to the way your Christmas tree looks.

Signs of Stress
Lots of people, noise, and activity might stress you out, but your dog is at a much greater risk of becoming stressed in busy situations. Most dogs are overwhelmed at holiday parties, for example, and they require quiet and solitude to recover. If your dog is too stressed, they can become dehydrated and physically ill, so it’s important to take them to a separate, quieter area, along with plenty of water, so they can rest and recharge.

Dogs can exhibit many different signs of stress, but here are some common ones to look for: cowering, trying to escape, pacing, growling, panting, staring, freezing up, jumping, showing the whites of their eyes, fur standing on end, hiding, or rapid breathing. Since you know your dog better than anyone else, take any behavior that is unusual for them as a sign of stress. If you’re traveling, try to identify a quiet place for your dog to de-stress before they need it. For dogs that are trained with an e-collar, a portable electric dog fence is a good tool for establishing a safe zone for your dog anywhere, including a campground or yard without a fence.

It’s a good idea for all dog owners to know basic dog first aid and CPR, just in case they’re faced with any significant emergencies. As always, keep the phone number to your vet’s emergency line on-hand, and call at the first sign of trouble. If you notice your dog acting strangely or becoming sick, call your vet or an animal hospital for guidance immediately.

Working dogs deserve the best protections available. If you are considering electric dog containment visit our educational partner for portable and static dog fencing solutions.

Any readers commenting on this post with automatically be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. All of these safety tips are sound and valid, but after you have done all of these, don't forget to include that special member of your family in the celebration of peace, love, and giving.........and my dog's favorite, affection!


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