The American Dog Trainers Network

SAFETY TIPS FOR DOGS

a photo of a dog with his head through an X-mas wreath
a rainbow-colored separation bar

Holiday and Seasonal Hazards

While holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, and The Fourth of July, can bring us much celebration and joy, they can also offer some potential hazards to our pets. Here is a partial list of things which are potentially dangerous to your pet:


Aluminum Foil

When ingested, aluminum foil can cut a dog's intestines, causing internal bleeding, and in some cases, even death.


Anti-Freeze

If ingested, anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) is often lethal -- even in very small quantities. Because many dogs and cats like its sweet taste, there are an enormous number of animal fatalities each year from animals drinking anti-freeze. Poisoning from anti-freeze is considered a serious medical emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately, the Sierra company now offers a far less toxic form of anti-freeze. They can be reached at (888)88-SIERRA.


Bloat

Bloat (gastric torsion & stomach distension) is a serious life-threatening emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Bloat is relatively common among large and deep-chested breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Great Danes. Many experts believe that a feeding a large meal within 2 hours of exercise or severe stress may trigger this emergency. Eating quickly, changes in diet, and gas-producing foods may also contribute to this serious condition. Symptoms of Bloat include: unsuccessful retching, pacing, panting, drooling, an enlarged stomach/torso, and/or signs of distress.


Bones

Bones from steak, veal, pork, turkey or chicken, as well as ribs, can be hazardous to your dog and are not recommended.


Chocolate

Chocolate contains an element which is toxic to dogs, called Theobromine. Even an ounce or two of chocolate can be lethal to a small dog (10 lbs. or less). Larger quantities of chocolate can poison or even kill a medium or large dog. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially dangerous. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. During many holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter and Halloween, chocolate is often accessible to curious dogs, and in some cases, people unwittingly poison their dogs by offering them chocolate as a treat.


Corn Cobs

Many dogs have suffered and, in some cases, died after eating corn-on-the-cob, when the corn cob caused partial or complete intestinal obstruction. Never allow your dog access to corn cobs.


Electrocution

Christmas tree lights and electrical cords can be fatal if chewed on by a dog (or cat). Whenever possible, keep electrical cords out of reach.


Fireworks

Never unnecessarily expose your pet to firecracker noise or fireworks displays, as they can cause companion animals tremendous fear, and in> many cases, long-term phobias. Make sure to keep dogs indoors, and keep walks (on a leash) very brief. Try masking loud firecracker noises with "white noise" (from the air conditioner or white noise machine), as well as with music or other familiar sounds (radio or television). Or if possible, take a brief vacation with your pet in a quiet rural area, until The Fourth of July fireworks are over.


Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion

A dog's normal internal body temperature is between 100.5 degrees F and 102 degrees F. Leaving a dog in a parked car in the summer (even with the window a few inches open), can cause heatstroke within minutes. Heat exhaustion is usually caused by over-exercising a dog during hot weather. Both heatstroke and heat exhaustion can result in brain damage, heart failure or even death in a short period of time. To cool off an overheated dog, wet the dog's body and paws with cool water, then fan. If the dog experiences heatstroke or heat exhaustion, he should receive veterinary attention as soon as possible.


Hypothermia

When a dog's internal temperature drops below 96 degrees F (by being exposed to cold weather for long periods, or getting both wet and cold), there is a serious risk to the dog's safety. Small and short-haired dogs should wear sweaters when taken for walks during cold winter weather. Any sign that a dog is very cold -- such as shivering -- should signal the owner to bring the dog indoors immediately.


Ice-Melting Chemicals and Salt

Ice-melting chemicals and salt placed across sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog's footpads. Whenever possible, avoid walking your dog through these substances, and wash off his footpads when you return home. There are also products available such as Musher's Secret which can be applied to your dog's footpads prior to going outside, that may help reduce the pain that is often caused by road salt and chemicals.


Poisonous Plants

Dogs (and cats) can become extremely ill or even die from eating poisonous plants. Keep all unknown types of plants and any plants suspected of being poisonous out of reach of your pet, and/or spray with Bitter Apple (for plants). [See below for a partial list of poisonous plants.]


Plastic Food Wrap

Plastic food wrap can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Some dogs will eat the plastic wrapping when there are food remnants left coating its surface.


Tinsel and Other Christmas Tree Ornaments

When ingested by a dog (or cat), tinsel may cause obstruction of the intestines, and the tinsel's sharp edges can even cut the intestines. Symptoms may include: decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessless and weight loss. Treatment usually requires surgery.


Training Collars

Remove your dog's training collars whenever left unsupervised or crated. Never tie your dog by attaching a leash or tether to your dog's training collar. Always use a flat buckle collar when tying your dog, and then only when supervised. Never leave your dog tied unsupervised in front of stores, restaurants or supermarkets, as they can be harrassed, poisoned or stolen.


 

Christmas Poodle 





Poisonous Plants -- Partial List

Acocanthera -- Fruit and Flowers
Amanita Mushroom
Amaryllis -- bulbs
Amsinckia/Tarweed -- Foliage, Seeds
Anemone
Angel Trumpet Tree -- Flowers and Leaves
Apple Seeds
Apricot Pits & Seed Kernal
Atropa Belladona
Airplane Plant
Avocado Leaves
Azalea
Balsam Pear -- Seeds, Outer Rind of Fruit
Baneberry
Beach Pea
Betel Nut Palm
Belladonna
Bird Of Paradise -- Seeds
Bittersweet -- Berries
Black-Eyed Susan
Black Locust
Bladder Pod
Bloodroot
Bottlebrush -- Flowers
Boxwood Bleeding Heart
Boxwood Tree
Bluebonnet
Buckthorn -- Fruit, Bark
Buttercup -- Sap, Bulbs
Caladium
Calla Lily
Cardinal Flower
Carolina Jessamine
Cassava -- Roots
Castor Bean -- Leaves, Bean
Chalice vine / Trumpet vine
Cherry Tree -- Everything Except Fruit
Cherry Laurel
Chinaberry Tree -- Berries
Christmas Berry -- Berries
Christmast Cactus -- Sap
Christmas Candle
Christmas Rose
Christmas Tree -- Needles, Tree Water
Common Prive
Columbine
Coral plant
Corn Cockle
Crocus (Autumn) -- Bulbs
Crocus -- Bulbs
Croton
Cyclamen
Daffodil
Daphne -- Berries
Datura / Jimsonweed
Deadly Amanita
Deadly Nightshade
Death Camas
Death Cap Mushroom
Deiffenbachia / Dumb Cane
Destroying Angel / Death Cap
Diffenbachia
Dragon Tree
Dutchman's Breeches
Dogwood -- Fruit
Eggplant -- Foliage
Elderberry -- Foliage
Elephant's Ear / Taro -- Foliage
English Holly Berries
English Ivy
Equisetum
Euphorbia / Spurges
False Hellebore
False Henbane
Fiddleneck / Senecio
Fly Agaric / Amanita
Four O'Clock
Foxglove
Gelsemium
Ghostweed / Snow On The Mountain
Golden chain / Laburnum
Holly Berries (English and American)
Horsechestnut
Horsetail Reed / Equisetum Hyacinth -- Bulbs
Hydrangea -- Flower Buds
Iris -- Bulb
Ivy
Jack-In-The-Pulpit /Indian Turnip
Jasmine
Jasmine Star
Jatropha -- Seeds, Sap
Java bean -- Uncooked Bean
Jerusalem Cherry -- Berries
Jessamine -- Berries
Jimsonweed
Johnson Grass
Juniper -- Needles, Stems and Berries
Laburnum
Lambkill / Sheep laurel
Lantana
Larkpsur
Laurel
Lobelia
Locoweed
Lords and Ladies / Cuckoopint
Lily of the Valley -- All parts of the plant, as well as vase water
Machineel
Mayapple -- All parts, except fruit
Mescal Bean
Milk Vetch
Milkweeds -- Foliage
Mistletoe Berries
Moccasin Flower
Mock orange -- Fruit
Monkshood
Morning glory
Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Mountain Laurel
Mushrooms (many wild forms)
Narcissus -- Bulbs
Narcissus Jonquilla
Natal Cherry
Nicotine Bush
Nightshades
Oak -- Acorns, Leaves
Oleander (very poisonous)
Peach -- Pit
Pear Seeds
Pennyroyal -- Foliage & Flowers
Peony
Periwinkle
Philodendron
Pikeweed
Pine Needles
Poison Hemlock
Poison Ivy
Poison Oak
Poison Sumac
Pokeweed
Pokewood / Poke cherry -- Roots, Fruit
Poppy
Potato plant -- New shoots and Eyes
Privet Shrub
Rattlebox
Rhododendron
Rhubarb Plants
Rosary Peas -- Pods, Seeds, Flowers
Russian Thistle
Sago Palm
Salmonberry
Scarlet Pimpernel
Senecio / Fiddleneck
Skunk Cabbage
Snapdragon
Snowdrop
Spanish Bayonet
Spider Plant
Star Of Bethlehem
Sudan Grass
Sundew
Tansy -- Foliage, Flowers
Tarweed
Thornapple
Tiger Lily
Toad flax -- Foliage
Tobacco Leaves
Tomato Plant -- All parts, except for fruit
Touch-Me-Not
Toyon Berry -- Berries
Trillium -- Foliage
Trumpet Vine
Tulips
Venus Flytrap
Verbena
Virginia Creeper -- Sap
Tobacco Plants
Water Hemlock
Wildflower
Wild Parsnip -- Roots, Foliage
Wisteria
Yellow Jessamine
Yellow Star Thistle
Yew (American, English and Japanese)


Note: Veterinary treatment should be immediate if poisoning is suspected.


 

LINKS


National Animal Poison Control Center
 

Copyright 1995 - 2000,  Robin Kovary

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Robin Kovary is the American Dog Trainers Network helpline director
 and canine behavioral consultant.