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Deck the halls with boughs of holly fa la la la la la la la la… 
Whilst the Christmas period is one of excitement and indulgence for us, it can be a very stressful and potentially dangerous time for our dogs so here’s our guide on making sure your dogs stay safe at this joyous time of the year. 
Christmas trees 
Whether you’ve gone for a real or artificial tree, they can present a few hazards which can easily be avoided. 
Position your tree in the corner of a room or make sure you secure it to the ceiling or a wall to prevent it from tipping over. 
If you’ve got a real tree with a water trough, do not let your dogs drink the tree water – it may contain preservative chemicals or poisonous pine tar which can cause nausea and diarrhoea. 
Do not hang chocolate decorations on the tree. Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and the smallest amount can have potentially fatal results. 
Avoid putting tinsel on your tree. The sparkly shiny ribbons can be an exciting play toy for your dog but if ingested it can twist in your dogs intestines and can cause a blockage and can be fatal. 
Christmas lights can cause digestive upsets or electrocution if chewed so keep all wires out of sight. 
Remember that dogs love playing and are not necessarily spatially aware and could easily hit your tree when he is running around 
Baubles and tree decorations can look like toys to many dogs and can be made from glass, plastic, glitters and other toxic elements that can cause damage if ingested. Try and hang them in hard to reach areas. 
Candles and Plants 
Getting into the Christmas spirit starts when many people buy the traditional Poinsettia Plant and pine smelling candles however these can be fatal. 
Plants which can be poisonous to dogs include Poinsettias, mistletoe, amaryllis and holly leaves and berries so make sure these are kept out of reach or use some of the good imitation plants that are on the market. 
Candles can cause an awful lot of mess not to mention the potential fire hazard if knocked over by a wagging tail. 
It’s not just on Christmas Day that we need to consider our dogs safety but throughout the festive season. Tins of chocolates and sweets can be fatal and our over indulgence of fatty sugary foods can affect our pets. 
Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs. Of note, dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate but all should be kept away from dogs. Even small amounts can cause diarrhoea, seizures or death. 
Greasy or spicy foods can cause pancreatitis which is a serious inflammation of the pancreas and can be fatal 
Cooked Bones should never be given to dogs. As well as causing vomiting and diarrhoea, they can also splinter when chewed and if swallowed can be fatal. They can tear or obstruct the digestive system. 
Christmas feasts can also create a lot of waste so if you’ve got a potential ‘bin raider’ , make sure you keep your bins covered or out of reach. Discarded food and plastic wrapping can cause obstructions if swallowed so discourage your dog from foraging in your bins. Tin foil, tooth picks and strings from joints of meat can be irresistible to dogs so make sure you dispose of them safely. 
Mince Pies and Christmas puddings contain sultanas and currants which are poisonous to dogs so avoid sharing your festive feasts with your pooch. 
Unbaked dough can swell up in the stomach and cause severe problems if swallowed. 
‘Tis the season to be jolly and we welcome many guests into our homes over the festive period. Some dogs can get very stressed during this time due to the added excitement and increased activity 
Children/Adults wanting to grab and pull your dog can be a nightmare for the calmest of dogs. Before guests arrive, settle your dog in a separate room, behind a baby gate or in a crate. Give them a filled kong or chew toy to help them relax. 
Alcohol can be flowing freely. Alcohol should never be given to your dog but also be aware that glasses can be knocked off tables by wagging tails and may break leaving broken glass which can cause a nasty injury. 
Try not to change your dogs routine too much. Make sure your dog gets a nice long walk in the morning if you’ve got visitors coming over so that he’s nice and relaxed when they arrive. 
Make sure your dog has a nice safe place to retreat to if it all gets a bit much for him. 
Christmas is always a good time of year to check his collar and tags are in good condition and the writing is still legible on his collar. With all the activity going on and visitors in the house, doors can easily be left open it only takes a moment for your dog to slip out unnoticed. The last thing you want this Xmas is to find your dog has gone off on an adventure 
Try to discourage family and friends from giving your dog titbits or human food as a treat. Even the smallest piece of food can give your dog diarrhoea or an upset stomach. 
Make sure you and your dog enjoy the festive system and stay safe this year. Look at your dogs body language. Really listen to what he is telling you. If he looks uncomfortable and is trying to hide himself away then give him his own space or separate room where he can relax. Some people like to dress their dogs up in fancy dress which can be hilarious for us to see but can be really distressing to your dog. Some outfits can be restrictive so make sure your dog is okay with being dressed up. 
Enjoy being a dog owner, Christmas is lovely time of the year to show your dog how much you love him by making sure you enjoy many more together. 
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