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Holiday Safety for your Dog

Posted: 11/30/2008 | Updated: 3/3/2011

Holiday Safety for your Dog

The Holiday Season is a very fun and exciting time for everyone. It is a time for decorating, traveling and spending time with friends and family. With all of this going on we sometimes forget that this time of the year can be stressful and even dangerous for our dogs. Here is a list of tips and reminders to help ensure your dog's health and safety during the Holiday Season.


  • If you have a real Christmas tree, be sure to keep the water in the stand covered as pine sap and water can be poisonous to your dog.
  • The outdoor smell of a live tree can cause your dog to want to urine mark. To avoid this behavior, bring the tree inside to a location where your dog does not go a few days before putting it up. This will allow some of the smell to leave so it will be less imposing to your dog.
  • If you have a playful dog or puppy, be sure to keep the tree off the ground or put unbreakable ornaments near the bottom in case your puppy decides they look like fun toys to play with.
  • Make sure your tree is secured to a wall or ceiling to prevent it from falling onto your dog should they decide to jump on it. This can be done with a sturdy cable or fishing line.
  • Be sure to vacuum any fallen pine needles daily as they can puncture holes in a dog's intestine if ingested.


  • Be sure to pick up any ornaments, hooks, tinsel, ribbon, etc immediately if they are dropped. They can cause serious internal injury if ingested by your dog.
  • Should an ornament or other decoration break, be sure to clean it up right away. If your dog was in the area, be sure to check their paws as sharp pieces can become imbedded in their paws.
  • Make sure any lights are hung out of reach of your dog to ensure they do not become entangled in them. Tape or secure excess cords out of reach as they can look like 'toys' to your dog and can cause electrical shock if chewed.
  • Unplug all holiday decorations when you are not home.
  • Be sure to supervising your dog around the tree and decorations.
  • Be sure to keep your dog away from any candles. Before lighting one make sure it is in a safe location on a high table or counter. NEVER leave an unattended candle burning with an unsupervised dog. They can not only hurt themselves but possibly start a fire.
  • Be careful when putting out Snow Globes as many contain antifreeze, which is EXTREMELY poisonous to dogs.
  • Many Holiday plants, especially Holly, Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Lilies are poisonous to dogs. Be sure to keep them out of your dog's reach. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog ingests any of these plants.
  • Avoid snow sprays and other toxic decorations that can be eaten or inhaled by your dog.

Cooking & Sweets

  • Be sure to keep holiday treats and goodies out of your dog's reach. Sugary holiday sweets, especially Chocolate can make your dog extremely sick or even lead to the death.


  • Pick up children's toys after opening gifts. Dogs can see small pieces as toys or treats. They are a common cause of choking and intestinal blockage in dogs which may require surgery to remove.
  • Be sure to keep any wrapped food gifts up and don't put them under your tree. Your dog will be able to smell them and may be tempted to find them.

Parties & Guests

  • Holidays can be stressful for your dogs as well. Having a houseful of guests can be very stressful and frightening for dogs especially if they are not used to guests. This can lead to illness and intestinal upset, so be sure if you are planning a Holiday party to make sure your dog has a nice quiet location to go while the guests are there.
  • Be sure to keep your dog away from the door when guests are entering and leaving so they do not escape. Also, be sure they have their collar and ID tags on before any guests arrive just in case they do get out.
  • Be sure to instruct your guests not to feed your dog any food. Many people do not realize the danger in feeding dogs certain foods.


  • If you are planning on traveling with your dog for the holidays, be sure to get them accustomed to the car prior to taking a long trip.
  • Holiday travel can be stressful for your dog, be sure to take plenty of their toys, food, water, bed, etc with you to make them feel at home.
  • Buckle your dog up when in the car. It is just as important to protect your dog. Dogs are just as at risk, if not more so, of being seriously injured or killed in a vehicle accident. Get a Car Seat or Harness for your dog before traveling with them.

Outdoor Safety

  • Salt used on Sidewalks and roads is extremely harmful to your dog. Always clean your dog's paws after being exposed to salt to keep them from ingesting it when licking their paws.
  • Outdoor cords and decorations can be just as dangerous as indoor ones. Be sure to keep outdoor decorations and cords out of reach of your dog or supervise them when outside.

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