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    Christmas and your dog

    Steve-King

    “Christmas comes but once a year and when it does it brings good cheer”. Please make sure that “brings good cheer” applies to man’s best friend as well.
    Whether we want to own up to it or not, Christmas time can be one of excess. And things occur that only happen over the festive period. The house, or at least one room, is transformed by adding a Christmas tree(s) adorned with baubles, lights and enough decoration to sink a moderately sized ship! Christmas cards are on display and poinsettias are in full bloom. Humbug I hear a few of you say but that’s for another time!
    So let’s take some time to view this array of magical wonderland through our furry friend’s eyes. Dogs like a consistent, scheduled lifestyle. All of a sudden, mom and dad are out of the house either doing the endless Christmas shopping or at yet another Christmas party and Fido is having to forego his daily walk and missing the company he’s used to having. All of a sudden the house seems full of people that Fido doesn’t recognize. Some of them like dogs but don’t know Fido’s quirks and others don’t particularly care for dogs. Result is that Fido may decide “enough is enough” and take himself off to his crate (“safe space”) or be locked in another room away from everyone. Stress all round for Fido.
    Now I wonder that those things hanging on the tree taste like? They smell good and they’re hanging at the perfect height for my mouth or maybe if I jumped up I could reach the higher ones too. Yes, you can see what’s about to happen here. Mom and dad return to the house to find the Christmas tree on its side and Fido vomiting, or worse, on the carpet. If you invested in a real fir tree, as compared to a fake version, there are other factors to consider. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a dog’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction, and puncture. If the decorations hanging on the tree are either chocolate or made of glass/plastic, you may find Fido in distress either through an over indulgence of chocolate or hurting from pieces of glass/plastic in his mouth or worse in his intestines.
    Poinsettias have a bad rep for being poisonous but, in reality, are only mildly toxic to dogs. Holly and mistletoe are also popular holiday plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness form ingesting these plants include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.
    The chances are very high that, over the Christmas season, more has been charged to the credit card(s) than normal. Do yourself and your bank account a big favour by minimizing the risk of your dog getting hurt through exposure to Christmas paraphernalia and remember to continue to treat them as family, despite all the seasonal distractions.
    Having said all this, ho, ho, ho and I truly wish you all a merry and safe Christmas and please give your dog an extra belly rub from me!