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Surprising Holiday Dangers to Dogs

Top 12 holiday hazards

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Ah, guests with good intentions. Well-meaning visitors are often the worst offenders when it comes to giving dogs all manner of things that will upset their stomachs—or worse. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound (or gargantuan vet bill) of cure. Be sure to stress the importance of not giving your dogs the things listed below.

1. Rich fatty foods Rich holiday foods can cause stomach problems (who wants to wake up to a “present” from the dog?) and pancreatitis. The classic problem? The dog gets into the ham, turkey, or, worse yet, the Christmas goose, gorges on it, and then gets very sick. Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

2. Bones Bones can splinter and puncture the stomach or intestines. Poultry bones pose a particular threat as they become brittle when cooked. Dogs should only be given raw meaty bones intended for them, not the bones left over from a holiday feast.

3. Booze Even small amounts of alcohol, beer included, can be toxic.

4. Chocolate Chocolate toxicity can occur within 24 hours and the effects can be very serious. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount in relation to body weight, the more harmful. The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, and experience rapid heartbeat, increased urination, muscle tremors, and seizures. We’ve heard many a tale of dogs unwrapping boxes of chocolate left under the tree, so if you suspect a gift box to contain chocolate, don’t leave it where your dog can get at it.

5. Onions Keep dishes loaded with onions away from your dog. Onions contain thiosulphate, which damages red blood cells and can cause anemia in dogs.

6.Grapes and raisins Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, so make sure they’re not left where your dog can help himself, like in a bowl on a coffee table.

7. Bread dough Yeast dough expands. When ingested by a dog, expanding dough produces gas in the digestive system, causing pain, and possibly rupture of the stomach and intestines.

8. Snacks from the table (or snatched from the counter!) are only one source of danger. Be aware of the following risks as well.

9. Garbage a.k.a “leftovers” Most dogs will take any opportunity afforded them to get into the garbage and see what “leftovers” they can find and scarf down. Spoiled, moldy food can make them sick. Bones from the holiday turkey can splinter and cause serious internal damage. Secure the garbage immediately to prevent gastric upset or worse.

10. Candles Keep lit candles out of reach of sweeping tails and use a screen around the fireplace, particularly if your dog has unsupervised run of the house

10. Holiday plants Greenery can be toxic to pets, particularly poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe.

10. Wrapping paper Dogs, especially puppies, can and sometimes will eat anything. Just ask the good people at the pet insurance companies: a stomach full of rocks? Yep. Several pairs of pantyhose? Check. And those aren’t even the oddest inedibles consumed by our darling dogs. So make sure you pick up wrapping paper as soon as the gifts are open to prevent Fido from making short work of all the ribbon and tissue.

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