The holidays are a time for family and that, of course, includes our four-legged family members. Just like our human family members, we want to ensure that our pets not only have a great holiday season, but a safe one as well.
From a Great Dane’s perspective, there are a lot of new and exciting things happening around the house during the holidays. There are lights and decorations, gifts and glitter – there is even a tree in the house, and the food; there is food everywhere! This is all very exciting for our four-legged family members, but it is important to note that many of these things can be hazardous.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your Great Dane (and other four-legged family members) have a safe and happy holiday.
Believe it or not, pets start about a thousand house fires every year and many of those occur around the holidays. Christmas candles, menorahs, electrical cords, and dry Christmas trees are all potential fire hazards, especially with happy tails swinging recklessly about the house.
Keep candles and menorahs out of reach and never leave them unattended when lit. Be sure to keep your tree well watered and always unplug Christmas lights when not in use.
Christmas Tree Hazards
Christmas trees are full of hazards for your pets. There are breakable ornaments, tinsel and garland, pine needles and electrical cords; even presents and their wrappings can be hazardous.
Consider An Artificial Tree
If you have pets consider an artificial tree as it is less likely to drop pine needles on the floor. Pine needles, if ingested can pose a serious threat for your pets. Artificial trees are also less fragrant and less likely to invite ‘Chewy’ the Great Dane to munch on them. If you do have a natural Christmas tree, be sure to keep it well watered and clean up any pine needles that fall to the floor.
Regardless whether you have a real or artificial tree, it is important that the tree be well anchored to mitigate the chances of it being knocked over by an overly excited tail wagging.
Secure Your Ornaments
Make sure that your ornaments are securely fastened to the tree. Broken ornaments can produce sharp shards of glass that can puncture or lacerate paws and mouths. Tinsel and garland should be placed high on the tree, out of reach of curious mouths as these items are difficult to digest and can cause an obstruction. As one might expect, hanging candies or stringing popcorn from the tree will invite investigation from a food driven Dane.
Consider A Tree Barrier
Placing a fence or barrier around your Christmas tree can mitigate many of these hazards. A folding pet fence or baby barrier makes for a good deterrent, just make sure it is tall enough that your Great Dane cannot step over it. If you do use a barrier, be sure that it is sturdy on its own, or secure it to the wall.
Hazardous Holiday Plants
Many decorative holiday plants are toxic for your pets. If you are going to spruce up your holiday decor with traditional holiday plants like holly, mistletoe, or poinsettia, keep them well out of your pet’s reach.
Holly and Mistletoe
Holly and Mistletoe are extremely toxic for both dogs and cats. Ingesting any part of these plants can cause severe intestinal upset for your pet, as well as a sudden drop in blood pressure. Ingesting large amounts can cause seizures and even death. Keep these well out of your pet’s reach.
While not as toxic as Holly and Mistletoe, the bright red leaves of the Poinsettia plant contain sap that irritates the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If your pet ingests the sap it will likely cause an upset stomach and vomiting. Be aware that these plants may be treated with insecticides which can be much more harmful to your pet.
This beautiful flowering plant is a popular gift for the holidays and is extremely toxic for pets. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy and tremors in both cats and dogs.
NOTE: The Amaryllis also goes by other names, including Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady.
Christmas Cactus is not necessarily toxic to pets, however the fibrous plant material can cause irritation to the stomach and intestine, leading to vomiting or diarrhea. Curious pets may be injured by the spines on these plants and it is best to keep them out of reach.
The holidays are filled with great foods and Great Danes are great eaters. With so much extra food around the house your Great Dane will be tempted even more than ever. Be sure to keep food stuffs in closed containers and out of reach and be especially mindful of foods that are known to be toxic for pets.
In conclusion, we don’t want to put a damper on your holidays; we just want you and your pets to be safe. Keep these tips in mind and have a happy and safe holiday season!