Make It Happy Holidays – Also For Your Dog!

The holidays are coming up, Christmas, Hanukah, these are cheerful seasons for us humans but can be dangerous, even deadly for our animals.


Christmas trees – secure your tree with a strong rope to the wall and/or ceiling. A heavy dog that leans on the tree or a cat that climbs on it might topple the tree over.

If you have cats that like to climb make sure they stay away from the tree. Spray part of your tree slightly with Grannick’s Bitter Apple® Spray. Neither cats nor dogs like the taste of it.

Ingested pine needles – can puncture your pet’s intestines. Clean and vacuum daily or twice daily around your tree and your wreath.

  • Drinking water – drinking water from the Christmas tree base will most likely cause diarrhea, vomiting and mouth sores. Cover your tree base tightly with a tree skirt.
  • Christmas tree lights/cords – be careful with your Christmas tree lights/cords. They can be fatal if chewed by either cats or dogs. Try to keep them out of reach or cover them up.
  • Tree ornaments – or other ornaments are a big danger for your pets. Most of them are breakable and if swallowed can cause serious or fatal digestive problems. Make sure your ornaments are secured properly to your tree so they don’t fall off.
  • Also, the hooks, angel hair, icicles, tinsel, and ribbons should be kept out of a pet’s reach. When ingested by a dog (or cat), tinsel may cause digestive obstructions, and the tinsel’s sharp edges can even cut the intestines. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, and weight loss. Treatment usually requires surgery. Especially puppies are at risk with their playful biting behavior.
  • Chocolate – Do not give your dogs or cats access to chocolate. Just a tiny bite can be fatal for your animals. The caffeine-like substance theobromine can cause heart failure and seizures. So make sure to keep your dog healthy and fit!
  • Candy – Better not. Sugar is not dangerous, but dogs will either suffer from stomachaches or become really hyper. Sugar candy is NOT part of a dog’s diet!
  • Plants – Vomiting, crying, depression, and muscle twitching are signs of plant poisoning. Almost every berry plant is poisonous to your animal. Please pay special attention that the Poinsettia, a typical Holiday plant, is very toxic for your animals.
  • Aluminum Foil – can cut a dog’s intestines, causing internal bleeding, and in some cases, even death.
  • Plastic Food Wraps – can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Some dogs will eat the plastic wrapping when there are food remnants left coating its surface. Make sure you educate your dog well to avoid bad behavior that can cause severe eating disorders.
  • Alcohol – Don’t give your dog alcohol or alcohol containing treats, leftovers, etc. Not only during the holidays – NEVER! Alcohol will cause liver damage and can lead to heart failure. A medium sized dog of about 35 lbs. would already be considered “drunk” from 2 tablespoons of whiskey. The same amount would kill a cat; just a tiny amount will kill your puppies and kittens.
  • Bones – Especially poultry bones will splitter when chewed by dogs. These splitters can cause serious damage to the digestive tract. Bones from steak, veal, pork, turkey or chicken, as well as ribs, can be hazardous to your dog and are not recommended. Avoid fatty foods or table scraps, they may cause vomiting and diarrhea. See also this post about the history of the German Shepherd.
  • Bloating – can occur when you overfeed the dog. Bloat (gastric torsion & stomach distension) is a serious life-threatening emergency that must be treated by a qualified vet 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 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. This may also cause whining behavior.
  • New Year’s Eve – Firecrackers/fireworks are a danger to all pets, especially to smaller pets like Shih Tzu. They suffer physically and psychologically. If you have a pet you might want to re-think the use of fireworks and firecrackers on New Year’s Eve (You can always watch it on TV).
  • Winter – Cold Temperatures – Any sign that a dog is very cold — such as shivering – should signal the owner to bring the dog indoors immediately. Small and short-haired dogs should wear protective sweaters when walking them during the winter months. When a dog’s temperature drops below 96 degrees F it causes Hypothermia, a serious risk to its safety.
  • Winter – Ice-melting chemicals and salt – on sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog’s paws. Avoid walking your dog through these substances, also when you’re traveling with your dog, and wash off his paws immediately when you return home.