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Tips to keep your dog safe and happy this Christmas.

Christmas is a very special and magical time for us humans, but it can present a lot of dangers to our beloved dogs. To avoid a trip to the emergencey vet during festivities, here are a few tips to keep your fur family member safe this christmas.

Christmas confectionary which contain chocolates and raisins are very poisinous to dogs and can have fatal consequences if eaten. Don't leave boxes of chocolates, chocolate decorations, wrapped chocolatey presents under the tree or advent calendars in easy reach of your dog. Be especially cautious if you have a greedy counter surfer! Dogs will get to anything if it smells good! Other christmas goodies to keep away from your dog are:

Christmas cake, mince pies, christmas pudding, stolen, fruit cake, sage and onion stuffing, macadamia nuts, blue cheese, salty foods and bones.

The Christmas tree is the centre of the festive celebrations for many families. However, it's possibly the bigget danger to your dog. Decorations must be out of reach, expecially the christmas lights as many dogs are always inclined to chew through new and interesting objects. A tree offers your dog a variety of new colours, textures and smells to investigate and it's easy therefore for your dog to want to explore. Things to be extra vigilant about are tinsel, lights, baubles, salt dough decorations, small toys, wrapping paper and wrapped presents under the tree.

Fallen pine needles are a real nuisance and can easlily get stuck in your dog's paws. Be sure to hoover up any loose needles daily to avoid this painful problem.

Beware of christmas tree water. ensure the water reservoir inside of the tree stand is not easily accessable to your dog. As the tree takes in water, it releases toxic sap back into the stand. Many fresh trees are preserved in pesticides and fertilzer water additives , including Asprin. Always find a way of blocking the tree stand by covering it in tin foil or a wrapped skirt around the base.

Christmas plants such as holly, mistletoe and the popular poinsettia, which we all love to bring into the home at christmas time can bery very harmful to your dog if digested. They contain toxic ingredients which can cause gastrointestinal distress when eaten. Be cautious when bringing these these plants into your home and choose out of reach areas to place them.

Christmas excitement is an inevitable reaction to festivities. Christmas is great fun for us humans, but it can be a very overwhelming and confusing time for your dog. The screams of joy from unwrapping presents, the bang of a christmas cracker, party poppers and many more people in the house than normal are all triggers to unsettle your dog. My own dog, who is a confident, friendly and loveable labrador, who loves people really struggled with christmas last year. She found the noise and excitement of extra guests in the home unsettling and spent a lot of her time putting herself in her crate looking very miserable. If you do spot a change in your pets behaviour, keep him/her close by, reassure and soothe them and if it's all too much, take them and their bed to a quiet area of the house and let them settle there.

If you and your family follow these steps during the festive season, your dog should remain safe and happy this christmas. If you think your dog may have eaten somehting he/she shoulden't have, contact your vet immediately. You can always call the 24 hour RSPCA emergencey poisin helpline at 0300 123 4999 if you have any concerns about potential harmful substances ingested by your dog. Even on christmas day, there are specialists to help you if needed.

I hope the above information goes a little way to help you and your family prepare for a safe and happy christmas. Merry Christmas from Pleasington Paws.

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