Making sure your pet is safe during holiday parties is a huge responsibility and can take some preparation. You want to make sure the decor you are using is not toxic and that they can not get into any of the food or party treats. A party may also be too much excitement for your dog so make sure they have somewhere relaxing and calm to stay. If they do join in on the fun make sure you watch the doors so they don’t escape with entering or leaving guests. Also if they do end up eating anything dangerous, simply stay calm and call the vet.
Check out some obvious and some not so obvious steps to dog proof your holiday parties:
The Décor: In an effort to go “green” and steer clear of the dreaded tinsel for pets, people make garland using popcorn, cranberries or other edible foods. Unfortunately, these decorations can be very appetizing to a dog and the string holding them together can be extremely hazardous to their stomach and intestines, said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Dogs can knock candles over and burn or poison themselves trying to eat them. Liquid potpourri is highly corrosive, so if your dog knocks it over and licks it they can get chemical burns on their esophagus and stomach, Wismer said. Poinsettias, commonly thought to be extremely poisonous to dogs, will not put your dog in any danger beyond an irritated stomach if consumed. The most dangerous plant, according to Wismer, is the Kalanchoe. This small potted plant has beautiful, seasonal flowers in reds and oranges but can cause serious heart problems in your dog if consumed. Live mistletoe can also pose a problem in dogs.
The Food: Most eggnog has brandy or other alcohol added to it for holiday festivities and if consumed by your dog, could cause severe alcohol poisoning. Fruit cakes, cookies and anything made with grapes or raisins can also cause vomiting and, after a few days, kidney failure in dogs, Wismer said. Onions and garlic, popular ingredients in many holiday appetizers and entrees, can cause red blood cells in dog’s blood streams to break down and may lead to anemia. The toxicity of chocolate depends on how dark it is and the size of your pet, but if your 20 pound dog consumes a mere three ounces of dark chocolate, it can experience vomiting, seizures and muscle tremors.
The Guests: Sugarless gum, prescription medications, hard candies and ibuprofen are all toxic to dogs, Wismer said. Make sure you keep all of your guest’s coats and purses locked in a closet or bedroom your dog can’t get into. As the night goes on and your party swings into high-gear, guests may put down drinks or plates of food and leave them unattended. Prevent this by keeping your dog out of the kitchen and away from areas with tables of food.