Billy Nudgel's Pet Training and Boarding Facilities Tel: 709-834-0646
Billy Nudgel's Home Our Professional Pet Services About Billy Nudgel's Our Professional Pet Care Services Rates Our Location in Newfoundland Customer Testimonials Contact Billy Nudgel's Website Links
Puppy Session Training

Home > Pet News and Articles > Christmas Care for Your Pets

Christmas Care for Your Pets
Article By: Glenn Redmond

I grew up in Torbay, often hiking the wooded trails behind my house with my French poodle "Chien." My family adopted the dog, along with the name, when she was about one year old and I was still in diapers. It was not until my first French lesson that I fully understood the reality that my beloved companion's name was "Dog." From the time I was old enough to swing an axe, Chien and I would go cut the family Christmas tree. We would drag the monstrosity back home, beaming with pride as I was always sure that this year's tree was the best ever.

My brother would put the fire in and the whole family participated in dressing the naked spruce, making a box of "Pot of Gold" disappear in the process. The final product glowed with colorful lights, glass bulbs, strings of popcorn and tinsel from top to bottom. Chien would lie in one spot in the living room, seemingly content with the knowledge that decisions of where to hang the stockings this year were not hers to make.

It always turned into a perfect Hallmark moment, but for many pet owners, Christmas can be a time of heartache and chaos. It is very easy for pets to get into trouble during the holidays as many pet owners get so busy that they lose track of what their pet is doing. Furthermore, many gifts, decorations and holiday foods pose dangers for dogs and cats. A little preparation and good planning is essential to ensure your pet's safety during the festive season.

We do not see too many mummers anymore, but Christmas celebrations do bring increased traffic to our houses. Pets can easily escape when visitors come and go as greetings at the door tend to be longer than usual. Small animals can get stepped on by heavy winter boots, causing severe injuries quite quickly. As well, guests are more likely to feed pets Christmas treats than owners. Multiple guests, each feeding one little treat, can add up to quite a lot of food, some of which could cause serious health complications.

Bones can cause choking, internal punctures or possibly death. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic for dogs, leading to an over stimulation of the nervous system. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and in high amounts, can be fatal. Baker's chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst as they contain higher concentrations of theobromine. Fatty, spicy or sweet foods can lead to gastric upset, dehydration and pancreatitis. Mouth burns or throat ulcerations can result from hot food. Advise guests not to feed your pets and do not leave tempting platters unsupervised.

All this food requires an accompaniment to wash it down. For many people this is a soothing glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage. A drunken dog is quite entertaining on "Family Guy," but in reality an ounce of a twenty to forty proof alcoholic beverage can put a small cat or dog into a coma.

Christmas plants add to the décor of our home, but unfortunately, many are toxic to our animals. Plants such as poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, ivy, hemlock and Christmas cactus can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac and central nervous system problems. To be safe, spray the leaves with a taste deterrent such as "Bitter Apple" and immediately discard dead leaves, stems or berries.

The Christmas tree I spoke of earlier always invokes fond memories. Looking back on it, I was not aware of the potential dangers it posed. The tinsel that adorned our tree can easily cause intestinal strangulation if ingested.

Food ornaments such as popcorn can be moderately toxic causing gastric upset and all of the glass bulbs, so easily broken, can lacerate paws in a second. Wire hangers can cause cuts and scrapes or much worse, if your furry friend decided to eat them. Decorative tree lights are quire beautiful, but pose the same dangers as any electrical cord. Pets can be electrocuted if they can chew the fragile wire. They can also become tangled in the strands, which can lead to burns. It is a good idea to block off the tree room with a baby gate or the like and only allow your pet access while supervised.

Gifts are abundant during the Christmas season, complimented with colorful wrapping paper and bows. However, ribbon, trim, polystyrene foam packaging, wrapping, foil, tape and glue all pose dangers if eaten. Wrap packages in an area away from your pet and make sure you put away wrapping supplies when not in use.

It is advisable to post the number and the location of an emergency vet hospital on the fridge so you are prepared to act during a crisis. There is nothing worse than struggling through the pages of a phone book when panicked. A little foresight and planning will go a long way in ensuring you and your pets have a safe and happy holiday season.

< Back

© 2007 Billy Nudgel's Dog and Cat Care Facility | Website Design by Bullie Graphics
Search Our Site About Billy Nudgel's Site Map