The Holidays are always very special. Usually we have family and friends coming over and visiting, bringing lots of treats and gifts. We love to include our furry friends when we have festivities, so I'm hoping that my suggestions will help you accomplish that and at the same time keep your puppy or dog safe. Everyone wants to enjoy having their puppy or dog join in with the fun, so let's try to make it as safe for them as possible. For young puppies, and even some adult dogs, this can be an extremely stressful time of year; with all the coming and going of people visiting all the time and small children that may not normally visit. So lets make the Holidays good for your furry family members as well. Here are a few tips to keep your furry family member happy and safe during this Holiday season. I will discuss many things from keeping your puppies safe from plants, to useful tips on keeping presents safely kept under your tree.
1. KEEP ALL PLANTS UP AND OUT OF REACH FROM YOUR PUPPY/DOG
Although Poinsettias are gorgeous, they can cause a vet visit if your dog or puppy becomes intrigued and starts to chew on its beautiful red foliage. If the leaves are ingested it can cause nausea and vomiting, but if a large amount of the plant is swallowed it can cause poisoning. Poinsettias have a milky white sap which contains chemicals called Diterpenoid Euphorbol Esters and Saponin-like detergents. Usually the irritating taste and feel with deter a puppy or dog from eating too much of the plant. However, there are some very naughty, and very determined puppies out there that could cause serious harm if they ingest too much. So to err on the side of caution, I recommend placing plants up high and out of reach of adventurous little puppies (and children as well).
2. CHOCOLATE AND SWEETS ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR PUPPY/DOG
Christmas is a time to indulge in lots of yummy treats, but it is best to be sure to only give your dog or puppy treats that are safe and appropriate for animals. Chocolate, candy, cakes etc are not very healthy for your furry friend and can cause great harm. Chocolate for instance is very toxic to dogs! Chocolate contains Theobromine and dogs are not able to metabolize it quickly enough which allows it to build up to toxic levels in their system. Unlike humans where we metabolize Theobromine very quickly. A small amount of chocolate may one cause you dog to vomit or have diarrhea, but in large amounts it can kill your beloved companion. Some dogs depending on size, breed and age may not even be affected, but why take the chance. Honestly, the last place you want to spend your Christmas is in the emergency vet worrying about your best friend (and that's if you can even find an emergency vet open on Christmas Eve or Day). So keep the chocolates for yourself and give your pooch some yummy apple slices instead... they will thank you for it! Cookies and pies are loaded with processed sugar, artifical sweeteners and tons of butter or grease. So forgo the pie and just give them the fruit instead; apples, blueberries, bananas, and cranberries are yummy good choices of fruit that you can safely give to your puppy or dog so that he or she doesn't feel left out. I will include a list of GOOD and BAD fruits and veggies, so that you can give your furry companion healthy treats during the holidays.
3. KEEP DECORATIONS AND PRESENTS OUT OF REACH
Keep presents out of reach of your puppy or dog. Most people don't realize just how inquisitive their furry friends really are. Wrapped gifts are quite a curiosity to dogs and puppies. The sounds of the crinkling paper alone just makes a puppy want to have a field day tearing away at a beautifully wrapped gift. Unfortunately wrapping paper can cause harm to your dog/puppy. if ingested it can create a blockage, which if your pet is unable to pass it, he or she will have to make a trip to the vet and have surgery. If you have a very curious puppy or dog, it is best to either put a barrier around your tree, keep the present stored until Christmas morning or keep puppy fenced off from your beautifully decorated tree and presents when he or she can not be supervised. Which brings me to my next tip. Christmas decorations...
We all love to decorate our home for the holidays... and why shouldn't we. All the beautiful decorations bring so much joy to us all and just fills our homes with beauty and color. But keep in mind that puppies, and some dogs, don't know the difference between their personal toys and our holiday decorations. Just put yourself in your puppy's "paws" for just a moment. You walk into a room and there, right in front of you, is this dangling... glittering, magnificent THING! Well you would think that your family put it there just for you to play with... wouldn't you! Puppies are like 5yr old children. They want to play with everything. They don't realize that something could be dangerous for them, or that they are our prize possessions... they are just attracted to them and want to have fun playing with it. So the best way to protect our furry family members is to keep the decorations up away from inquisitive little puppies and out of reach. So by either putting a barrier around your tree, or just not putting ornaments on the lower branches will save your puppy from getting into any trouble, and save you a possible visit to your vet this year.
4. HOW TO HELP YOUR FAMILY PET DEAL WITH VISITORS, BIG AND SMALL
Most everyone has visitors come for the holidays. Some visitors stay longer than others. Some only come for a few hours to join in on the fun, others stay longer. Some visitors with have children, others will not. So here is another tip to keep those adorable kids and your furry companion safe and happy. Not all dogs enjoy the company of little children. So in order to keep your dog from getting stressed out this year, keep an eye on how your dog or puppy is reacting to the children that are visiting your home. The same goes for the children that are coming to visit. Not all children have been raised with pets, or taught proper handling. So you want to make sure that when children are in your home to supervise them with your puppy or dog. If for any reason your puppy or dog is looking stressed, or a child is mishandling your furry family member it is time to separate. No dog or puppy should be put through being mistreatment of a child, whether the child is aware of his or her wrong doings or not. It is your responsibility to be sure that your best friend is kept safe, and if that means to place him or her in a room away from the child's reach, then so be it. Same goes for if a dog is not used to being around children and be a bit aggressive. Even though this is his/her home, if you are going to have visitors, you need to be sure the children will be kept safe. So if you know that your dog or puppy doesn't do well around children, it is best to just put him or her up until your guests have left. Holiday get togethers is not really the time for socialization training sessions. There is too much going on and your dog or puppy could already be pretty stressed out to begin with. Also you will want to be sure to let your visitor know what your puppy or dog may and may not have. People love to share their treats with pets, and if they aren't made aware of what not to give, they could cause harm to your furry best friend without realizing.
5. LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN...
Depending on your location, there could be festivities going on outside that could be very stressing for your dog or puppy. Here in Texas, it's very common for neighborhoods to have fun with fireworks for Christmas and New Years. During this time you should not keep your dog or puppy outside. The loud sounds from the booming fireworks can be way more than your pooch can handle. Some people don't realize how scary fireworks can be for their dog. A lot of dogs go missing during Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year's festivities for this very reason. They get scared and all they can think of is to get away. Next thing you know your dog has gotten out of the yard and is not lost. Instead, I recommend either kenneling your dog, or putting him/her in a closed off room if you aren't wanting your dog to be around your visitors. Putting on the television or radio on a loud volume to drown out the booming of the fireworks will help. If your dog gets very anxious during this time, you may want to consult with your vet about putting your dog on anti-anxiety medication when you know your dog will get triggered. Thunder shirts are a new product that has been shown to help. These tips can also help if your puppy or dog is afraid of thunder. Here at Dandy Doodles and Poodles we do noise desensitizing to help our puppies overcome any of these fears at an early age. So just remember... although you may love and enjoy the fireworks display going on, your little fuzzy buddy may think otherwise.
Bananas- in moderation bananas are a low calorie treat that is high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber and copper. They are low cholesterol and sodium, but they do have a high sugar content. Although natural sugar is safe to give to dogs, you don't want to over load their system which could also be unhealthy. Bananas also contain magnesium, which promotes bone growth and helps produce protein and absorb vitamins.
Blueberries- blueberries are considered a superfood and has many health benefits for your puppy/dog (and yourself). They are rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in both humans and canines. Blueberries are packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. They are also high in vitamin C which is a vital component for proper canine nutrition.
Cantaloupe- cantaloupe is high in sugar, so it should be given in moderation. It is however, loaded with nutrients good for you puppy/dog, low in calories a great source of fiber and is also a great source of water. Cantaloupe contains vitamin B6, niacin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Another benefit to giving your dog cantaloupe is because of the high fiber and water content it will promote healthy digestion and prevent dehydration and constipation.
Cranberries- cranberries and dried cranberries are safe to give to your pooch, but in small quantities. Too much could cause stomach upset. Depending on your dog's personal taste will determine if this is good treat choice for your dog. Be sure if you choose to give your dog or puppy cranberries that they are either fresh, or dried on their own. Dried cranberries that come in mixes could contain ingredients that aren't good for your dog... such as raisins, which are extremely toxic to dogs. Also you don't want to give your dog cranberries that are in dishes that contain juices or alcohol. So just be careful about what form of cranberries you offer to your furry friend.
Mango- mangos are a very healthy choice to give to your puppy or dog. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E. They also contain potassium, beta-carotene and alpha- carotene, fiber. Just be sure to remove the pit as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can also be a choking hazard. The skin can be difficult to digest, so I would recommend peeling before giving your dog a mango treat
Oranges- in moderation oranges are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber and water. They are low in sodium but they do have a moderate sugar content. Just be sure to remove the peel and seeds prior to giving it to your dog.
Peaches- Peaches are a great source for vitamin A and fiber. Only give your dog fresh peaches, as canned peaches are packed with sugary syrup. Also remember to remove the pit as just like with the mango, the pit contains small amounts of cyanide and can also be a choking hazard.
Pears- pears in moderation can be a healthy treat for your pooch. They contain vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. Be sure to remove the pit and seeds prior to giving a slice of pear to your furry best
Pineapple- pineapples contain bromeliad, which is an enzyme that makes absorbing proteins easier for dogs. It also contains fiber, minerals, vitamin C, vitamin B6 thiamin riboflavin, niacin and folate. It is also full of manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, small amounts of calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Feed only the flesh part of the pineapple and dispose of the core and spiny skin. I have also heard that if you have a puppy or dog that is a poop eater, try giving him or her some pineapple. Usually dogs are lacking something in their diet and that is why they eat poop. Pineapple usually gives your dog's system what it needs to stop your dogs from snacking on it's own droppings. Also due to the high level of natural sugar that is found in pineapple, it is best to only give in small amounts to avoid your dog from having diarrhea issues.
Raspberries- in moderation raspberries are a yummy treat for your puppy or dog. They're low in sugar and calories, and contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. Raspberries are high in fiber, manganese and vitamin C. They also contain vitamin K and B-complex. Other minerals found in raspberries are potassium, folic acid and iron. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which can take pain and pressure from joints of older dogs. You do want to limit the amount of raspberries that you give to your dog though. They contain the highest level of natural xylitol, an all natural sweetener found in many fruits and vegetables as well as some human food products. This does not mean that raspberries are toxic to your dog, but this does mean that they should only be given in moderation. Gastrointestinal side effects that could occur from feeding your dog this fruit are diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. Limit to 1 cup or less at a time if you choose to give your dog raspberries for a treat.
Strawberries- yummy strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dogs teeth (now that's a bonus for some people!). They are high in sugar, so you do want to give them in moderation. Be sure to only give fresh strawberries, never give your dog strawberries that is in a syrup. Also to help with digestion, it is recommended to cut up the strawberries into smaller pieces; for smaller dogs you can even mash them.
Watermelon- watermelon is a low calorie treat that is packed with vitamin A, C, B6, and C as well as potassium. It's a great source of water as it is 92 percent water. The seeds and rind should not be given to your dog because it could cause a blockage.
Broccoli- in small quantities broccoli is safe to give to your dog and is best to be only given occasionally. It is high in fiber, and vitamin C and is low fat. You can give it to your dog raw or cooked, as long as no seasonings are used. Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild to potentially severe gastric irritation. Also the stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus. Cutting into smaller pieces to avoid choking is recommended. I would put this veggie on the DO NOT GIVE list, but as it is not a veggie that contains harmful side effects it has been added to this list.
Brussel Sprouts- brussel sprouts contain vitamins K, C, B1 and B6. They are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants. Feed brussel sprout sparingly though, because any lover of this tasty vegetable knows that it creates gas... and we know how bad dog farts smell. So spare your nose and your dog's humiliation and give in moderation
Carrots- carrots are low calorie, contains potassium and high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces Vitamin A. This crunchy veggie is also a good treat that will also help keep your puppy and dog's teeth clean. You can serve the fresh, cold, frozen and cooked (no seasonings of course). Carrots are an excellent chewing outlet for teething puppies as well! In order to avoid any choking hazard I recommend cutting the yummy veggies into smaller pieces, especially for smaller dogs and puppies.
Celery- celery is a wonderful veggie treat for your dog or puppy. It has vitamin A, B, C and K and contains nutrients that are needed to promote a healthy heart and maybe even fight cancer. It also contains folate, potassium and manganese... and if that wasn't enough, it can also help freshen your puppy or dog's breath! Celery is also in low calories and cholesterol which makes it a great treat for our extra "fluffy" furry companions. Because of the stringy natural of this wonderful vegetable, I recommend cutting it into small pieces in order to prevent a choking hazard.
Cucumbers- cucumbers are an excellent treat for overweight dogs since they are a low calorie vegetable. In comparison to a Milk Bone cucumbers only have about 8 calories per one-half cup of slices vs 40 calories in just one single medium sized Milk Bone biscuit. Really makes you think... huh! They have little to no carbs, fats, or oils and they can even provide extra energy and they are low in sodium. They are loaded with vitamins C, B1 and K as well as potassium, copper, magnesium and biotin. Always be sure to cut cucumbers into small enough, bite size pieces in order to prevent a choking hazard.
Green Beans- you can feed your dog canned, chopped, cooked or raw green beans. As long as there is no seasonings on them your furry friend can have them. They are full of important vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and they are low in carbs. If you choose canned, be sure you chose one that are low to no sodium added. If you choose to cook your dog's green beans don't use any oils (unless you choose coconut or olive oil). Don't give your dogs green beans that have been cooked with other vegetables that are harmful to dogs (ie garlic, onion, mushrooms etc). Be sure to cut your dog's green beans into smaller pieces in order to avoid any choking hazards.
Peas- all types of peas are safe to give to your puppy or dog. Green peas; specifically snow peas, sugar snap peas and garden or English peas are all fine to give. They are rich in protein, which is why a lot of dog foods are using peas as a protein source (jury is out as far as whether or not that is a good idea). Peas are high in fiber and are a great source for vitamins A, B and K. They are also loaded with minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Peas also contain lutein which is an antioxidant that is good for skin, heart and eye health. Take note though, that peas contain purines, a naturally occurring chemical compound. Purines produce uric acid which can lead to kidney stones and other kidney issues. So Give peas in moderation, especially if the brand of dog food you use has peas in their recipe.
Potatoes- potatoes are ok to give to your dog as long as they are cooked. Raw potatoes can be harsh on the stomach. When you cook your potatoes do not use any seasonings, just boil or bake the potato. They should be washed and peeled. Mashed potatoes usually have butter, milk or seasonings added, and that can really irritate your dogs digestive system. We all know not to give dogs cow milk because they are lactose intolerant. Potatoes are rich source of iron. If you dog has diabetes skip this extra treat. Potatoes can cause blood sugar spikes. This veggie should also be given in moderation because they are also high in carbs which can result in obesity.
Sweet Potatoes- sweet potatoes is a more healthy choice vs white potatoes because they have more nutritional value. They contain vitamins A, C and B6, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Sweet potatoes should be prepared the same as white potatoes; they should be washed, peeled and only baked or boiled with nothing added.
DO NOT GIVE
Avocado- avocados skin, pit and leaves contain persin, which is a toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy part that you eat also contains persin, but not as much as the rest of the plant, but still at very unsafe levels for dogs. If you dog or puppy has eaten some avocado, it is best to play it safe and give your veterinarian a call.
Cherries- cherries contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog's blood cell can't get enough oxygen. If your dog has eaten a cherry contact your vet immediately. Be on the look out for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing and red gums. These could be symptoms of cyanide poisoning and your dog needs emergency care ASAP!
You may be asking yourself... "well what about maraschino cherries?' Nope, although the pits have been removed, they are sweetened with TONS of sugar.
What should be done if your dog swallows a whole cherry you may be asking yourself. Although it does contain cyanide, it shouldn't be enough to cause your dog harm if it's only one. Just watch out for symptoms of an intestinal blockage, including vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation and decreased fecal production. Symptom could take up to 24hrs to appear after your dog has swallowed the cherry. Also keep in mind, although larger dogs can suffer from blockages, smaller breeds are more prone to blockages caused by a pit. If you dog has swallowed multiple cherries, you should be on the look out for symptoms of cyanide poisoning, which is listed at the beginning of this description.
Grapes- grapes AND raisins have been proven to be very toxic to dogs. It does not matter your dog's breed or size age or sex. Grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute kidney failure.
Signs And Symptoms That May Occur After Toxic Ingestion
Loss of appetite
Lethargy, weakness, unusual stillness
Vomiting and/or diarrhea, often within a few hours
Abdominal pain (tender when touched)
Dehydration (signs include panting; dry nose and mouth; pale gums). A quick way to test for dehydration is to gently pull up on the skin at the back of your dog's neck. It should spring back immediately. If it does not, your dog is dehydrated.
Increased thirst and/or urine production or diminished amount of urine or complete cessation altogether.
Kidney failure (which can be fatal
If your dog has ingested grapes or raisins immediate vet care is extremely crucial to your dog's life. Contact your vet ASAP. Your vet may instruct you to induce vomiting as soon as possible. However, not induce vomiting if your dog is having trouble breathing, showing signs of distress, unconscious or you don't know what your dog has eaten!
Tomatoes- although the red part of the tomato is not known to be harmful to dogs, the green parts of the plant contain solanine which is a toxic substance. If ingested in small amounts your dog will probably be fine, but in large amounts it could make your dog or puppy sick. So for this reason I have put tomatoes on my DO NOT GIVE list because there are so many other options that are safer to give and be worry free.
Asparagus- asparagus is not unsafe to give to your dog, so don't worry if a piece falls on the floor and your furry hoover sucks it up before you can get to it, but it has no nutritional value once it is cooked enough for your dog to easily digest it. It's too tough to feed raw, so instead of share a veggie, choose one that is more beneficial.
Mushrooms- wild mushrooms are extremely toxic to dogs. Although the mushrooms that you find in your supermarket is more than likely fine for your dog, I would recommend not giving your dog any kind of mushroom and be safe. There are plenty other more safe and healthy treats that you can give to your dog without the worry.
Symptoms To Look Out For Mushroom Poisoning
Ataxia (staggering gait)
If you witness your dog eating a wild mushroom, try to get a sample of the mushroom to show your veterinarian that they he or she may be able to determine if it is a poisonous species or not, and if it is toxic provide the best course of action for the specific toxin.
Onions- onions, leeks and chives are all part of the same family of plants called Alllium, which is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Onions are poisonous to all breeds, but they are much more serious to Japanese breeds such as Chins, Akitas and Shiba Inus. If your dog ingests an onion it can cause your dog's red blood cells to rupture, it can also cause diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and nausea. All parts of the onion is toxic to dogs, so avoid giving onions to your dog. This also pertains to onion and garlic powder. These are even more potent than their fresh counterparts, so be sure you check labels before giving your dog any human food.
Spinach- spinach has no toxicity problems for your puppy or dog, but spinach does have a high level of oxalic acid, which blocks the body's ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. For this reason I have put it on my DO NOT GIVE list. In small amounts spinach is ok to give to your dog, but in large amounts it can cause your dog or puppy great harm. I wouldn't never recommend giving spinach to a puppy because it can block the absorption of calcium, of which growing puppies need.
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I truly hope that this was helpful to some people. We absolutely adore our puppies, as well as all dogs, and want them all to be safe this year.