Many of you know my Belle was born blind. She was born with no retinas, so we have always been more vigilant about her. The holidays have always presented a special challenge. Our mantra to guests in our home has always been "watch out for Belle because she cannot watch out for you". This has been a kind of a challenge for people not used to being around her because of her coloring. She is a chocolate Yorkie so she blended right in with our brown blend carpet. Now that I am living in my RV and my flooring looks like a hardwood floor, she still blends with that. I have always dressed her in a shirt, dress or sweater that really stands out from the flooring when I have company, especially at the holidays. With a house full of people, she was a whole lot less likely to be stepped on. I am used to looking down as I walk around my house, but other people are not. Protecting Belle from being stepped on was just the beginning of what we, as dog parents, have to watch out for during the holidays.
We all know we have to protect our dogs from eating something they should not. This becomes harder during the holidays. People drop food without realizing it and children love to feed dogs from their plates. For years, my late husband and I were the world's worst about feeding our dogs from our plates. We never ate a meal that something could not be saved for the dogs. All our dogs were very good at eating food from a fork. I have since learned the hard way this is not a good habit to have. Let's just say lots of expensive vet bills. During the holidays, chocolate is a lot more common as a candy dish item. I am sure you are aware even wrapped in foil, these are not safe and should not be in reach of your dog. The foil wrapping is it's own danger to your dog and can cause a trip to the vet.
The Christmas tree can present a whole list of dangers to your dog. Ornaments can break causing cuts to your dog's paws or worse yet, if eaten, can cause major damage to the intestinal track. The little wire ornament hangers and tinsel render the same kinds of potential problems. Angel hair and tree lights can also represent bits of glass which can cause gastrointestinal distress at the very least. Tree lights can have toxic chemicals and angel hair can cause skin and eye irritation.
Holiday plants, such as lilies, mistletoe, Christmas Rose and holly can upset your dog's stomach or worse. We also need to keep lit candles up where they cannot be knocked over by our dogs. If you do not have a screen in front of your fireplace, you will want to watch out for embers burning your dog. Christmas tree water can also be unsafe. It can become stagnant or have harmful chemicals.
Hanukkah is not quite as dangerous as Christmas, but you will still want to watch out for small gifts and toys being swallowed by your dog. Be sure and keep the chocolate coins out of your dog's reach. We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our family because of different faiths in my family.
I am sure all of the above is just common sense to you, but for me, it never hurts to be reminded. Abbie, Belle and I wish all of your a wonderful, safe holiday season.
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