PINE NEEDLES, BAUBLES, CHOCOLATE, BOOZE AND ANTIFREEZE – JUST A FEW OF THE HAZARDS THAT CAN HARM YOUR HOUNDS THIS CHRISTMAS
-LRK issues top 10 dangers for your dogs at Christmas -
Christmas can be a nightmare for dog owners as there are hundreds of hazards that could harm your hound warns Kent charity Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK).
Here is a list of the top dangers for your dogs at Christmas time: -
In at number one is chocolate which can be fatal if eaten by a dog. Chocolate contains a toxic element called theobromine which dogs are particularly sensitive to. Humans can process this toxin, but dogs are unable to. Even the smallest amount can kill.
“It is better to be safe than sorry,” says LRK trustee Maggie Hinks, “and to make sure that all chocolate is out of reach and kept in a closed cupboard.”
If a dog has eaten some chocolate it may suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea, and muscle spasm. It will then have convulsions and could even die.
At number two we have car anti-freeze which is sweet tasting and irresistible, but fatal to dogs (and cats). Mop up any spills as even a small amount could kill.
At number three LRK ranks your Christmas decorations as posing a problem to your hounds... real trees may be the bees knees but pine needles can very easily get into your dogs paws and will require a trip to the vets. Glass baubles can either get stuck in a dog’s throat or if broken can also get into its paws. Tinsel and foil are not good if eaten by your pet.
Popular Christmas plants – Poinsettias, Amaryllis and Mistletoe come in at number four. Their red glow isn’t just appealing to humans; many dogs will find these plants irresistible too. It’s therefore important these plants are kept out of reach, as they are poisonous and can cause mouth or stomach irritation from just eating a small part of the plant. Mistletoe berries, in particular, can be even more toxic than poinsettias.
At number five we have cooked turkey bones which might become lodged in a dog’s throat or perforate its intestinal tract.
Humans might like to have some grapes or dried fruit with their cheese, but at number six grapes, and raisins found in mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake, can be fatal for dogs.
At number seven LRK says it might be tempting to dress up your dog in costume but they can annoy animals and pose health and safety hazards. If you do put your dog into costume make sure it can breathe, see and hear. If possible avoid masks on your pet. Remove any small or dangly accessories that could be chewed or swallowed.
As family and friends come to celebrate don’t forget your dog will not always want to be in the thick of it, so make sure your pet has a safe place to relax and be away from all the noise and bustle..(number eight)
At nine, as we drink more alcohol and use it in our cooking, this too is intoxicating for our pets, so don’t leave it out where dogs can get at it and don’t feed your dog any sauces that have been made with alcohol.
And finally at number ten, don’t forget to take your dog on his normal walk, a lack of exercise can make the dog out of sorts and not so friendly.
Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) offers advice on how to calm dogs that get distressed and traumatised by fireworks during Diwali and around firework night.
'Many dogs are sensitive to sounds as they can hear much higher frequencies than humans' says LRKtrustee Maggie Hinks 'let your dog hide, if that is what they want to do. It might be tempting to try to coax them out of their hiding place instead make them as comfortable as possible'
LRK advises owners to exercise their dogs before it is dark, and to make sure that they have eaten before the fireworks begin. Dogs may become unsettled and not eat during fireworks.
- Check that your house and garden are secure and that your dog cannot escape.
- Make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and don't forget to draw the curtains. This will block out any scary flashes of light and reduce the noise level of fireworks.
- Try to act and behave as normal, as your dog will pick up on any odd behaviour. Remain calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog.
- Distract your dog from the noise by having the TV or the radio switched on.
- Keep a collar on your dog, just in case they do accidentally escape.
- If you are intending on leaving the house on fireworks night, make sure you get someone your dog is familiar with to dog sit that evening
- Take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don't assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed.
- Tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off.
- Assume your garden is escape proof. If your dog needs to go out keep him on a lead just in case.
- Leave your dog on his own or in a separate room from you.
- Try to force your dog to face his fears - he'll just become more frightened.
- Forget to top up the water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
- Change routines more than necessary, as this can be stressful for some dogs.