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Kuranda Dog Beds - Rethinking dog beds
Kuranda Dog Beds
— October 30, 2012 —

Holiday season precautions.
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

This time of year brings lots of new things into your home. Here are a few things that can be dangerous to your dog.

Starting this week, Halloween will introduce a few things into your home that you may not have around during the rest of the year. Halloween decorations are where it starts. Many of the plastic decorations are attractive to dogs. They think these things are toys and may chew them. Some humans may think these are fine dog toys and give them to their dogs also. The danger here is two-fold. First, the hard plastic decorations, if swallowed can cause obstructions and bowel injuries. Second, the stuffing in children’s toys are treated with a flame retardant. This material, which is not intended for consumption, is dangerous to the bowel and has been reported to cause the bowel to die. This in turn would be fatal to the dog. Please only give your dog stuffed toys that are designed for dogs and in any case, avoid letting them consume the stuffing.

While halloween candy is not exactly healthy for humans, it can be downright fatal for dogs. Xylitol is a sweetener that is used in candy and gum. When dogs ingest xylitol, they can experience low blood sugar, liver failure, depression and collapse. Of course, chocolates can be dangerous to dogs. Grapes, raisins and foods containing macadamia nuts are also dangerous to dogs.

Kids coming and going in scary costumes may present behavioral issues in normally calm dogs. Remember to supervise your dog carefully when costumed children show up at your door. A nice long walk is never a bad idea but if your dog is unsure around new situations, he’ll be much more well behaved if he’s nice and tired when Trick-or-Treaters show up on your door step.

Thanksgiving also poses a few hazards. While many people may want to give their dog a tasty treat from Thanksgiving dinner, the cooked bones from Thanksgiving Day turkeys can cause bowel obstructions and present choking hazards. Dogs should never be allowed access to alcoholic beverages. Also, foods cooked with onion as well as butter or other fatty foods (pieces of turkey skin) can harm your dog. Lean bits of meat are a fine reward for good behavior and your dog will thank you.

Christmas brings all the same food concerns, with cooked bones and dangerous foods, but has the additional concerns of holiday plants, gift wrapping (ribbon, tape and staples) and decorations. The electric cords for Christmas lights are often chewed and dogs get shocked. Small dog are at greatest risk for serious injury from chewing electric cords. Those beautiful Christmas tree ornaments are potentially dangerous to dogs, and should be well secured to trees. The tree itself can also be a hazard. More than one dog has been trapped under a fallen Christmas tree.

New Years celebrations bring bottle caps, champaign corks and fireworks. Ingestion of caps and corks can cause obstructions and fireworks have caused panicked dogs to run from home. If you are having guests for New Years Eve, please be aware of how this can affect your dog. If your dog is social and outgoing, this may not be a big deal at all. However, we see dogs given up regularly because a well-intentioned (and maybe drunk) holiday guest tried to kiss a dog they didn’t know or made some other human mistake that inadvertently threatened a dog. If your dog may be spooked or panicked by the celebration, please consider a night at the local boarding facility. It’s up to you prevent these types of injuries, either by educating your guests or removing your dog from the situation. Lastly, remember that the Tylenol or Advil you may need after New Years celebrations is very dangerous to your dog.

While the holidays are a great time to be with family and friends, please keep these dangers in mind so you can protect your four-legged friend.