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Holiday Dangers for Dogs

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Holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are my favorite time of year.

woman kissing chihuahua with Christmas tree in background

But I have had several bad things happen to pets at this time of year too. There are so many holiday dangers for dogs at this time of year.

Which is why I’m writing this. I want to warn you about what can happen to your fur babies if you aren’t careful.

The most recent thing to happen to one of our pets happened a few years ago to Odie, my daughter’s French Bulldog.

He was a puppy at the time. He doesn’t live with me but I babysit dog-sit him 3-4 days a week.

This didn’t happen while he was with me.

Mr. Odie took an ornament off the tree and ate it! Thanks God it wasn’t glass or  it would have been much more serious.

It was metal and wood I believe. He had to have his stomach pumped at the emergency vet. Poor baby!

A much worse thing happened about 10 years ago when my oldest daughter still lived at home.

She had a sweet little Beagle named Tripp.


I had  received several large chocolate bars from my boss as a Christmas gift and I put them up on the kitchen bar, which should have been too high for any of the dogs to reach.

I noticed the next day, they were gone but figured my son or someone else in the family ate them. Well someone else did eat them but it wasn’t a human family member.

Somehow Tripp found a way to get those candy bars off the bar and ate them.

Do you know how we found out he  ate them?

He died.

He was fine when I left that morning for a hair appointment. When I came back a few hours later, he was dead.

We had no idea why he died so the vet did an autopsy and found the candy bar wrappers in his stomach.

It was the caffeine in the chocolate that killed him. 

I have carried a lot of guilt about this over the years since they were my candy bars and I left them on the counter.

So rule number one: Never leave food that is toxic to dogs out, even if you believe your dog won’t be able to reach it.

You can read this article if you’d like to know what foods and other things are toxic to dogs: 20 Dangerous Things To Keep Away From Your Chihuahua

chihuahua standing over a roasted turkey

So you may wonder what kind of food to keep away from dogs. Here’s a list of typical holiday foods:

  • Fruit cake  it’s often soaked in alcohol which can be toxic to dogs since they absorb alcohol so much faster than humans. They also usually contain raisins, currants and candied grapes. All those are toxic to dogs.
  • Turkey Bones These are brittle and your dog can easily choke on them.
  • Turkey A little bite or two is fine, but too much will give them the runs.
  • Chocolate or anything with Caffiene. Toxic and can kill as I found out the hard way.
  • Xylitol is a sweetener often found in gum, candy, peanut butter and some baked goods. It’s toxic to dogs and can kill them.
  • Macademia Nuts very toxic to dogs.
  • Bread dough that has yeast in it. If your dog eats it, it will expand in his stomach and can cause serious damage.
  • Alcohol This can be dangerous (specially to small dogs) as they absorb it very quickly and can get alcohol poisoning.

2 longhair Chihuahuas sitting with garland with Christmas balls

Other things to be careful about:

  • Live Trees–  If your dog eats the pine needles, they could puncture her intestines. Some of the needles are also toxic. The stuff they put in the tree water is also poisonous to pets. And the sap from the tree that leaks into the water may be toxic.
  • Tinsel– Cats seem more attracted to this than dogs but either way, if your pet eats this, it will block their intestines.
  • Ornament Hooks- Watch out for these. Obviously dangerous if your dog eats one, it can also hurt if they (or you) step on one the wrong way. Believe me I know! I stepped on one when decorating the tree. Ouch!
  • Ornaments– Keep them off the lower branches that your dog may reach or keep your tree blocked off from your dog.
  • Edible Ornaments and Garlands such as Gingerbread ornaments, Cranberry or Popcorn garlands may be tempting for your dog to try to pull off your tree so it’s best to skip these.
  • Electrical Cords– Keep these covered  if you have a dog that likes to chew on them.
  • Candles and Hot Scented Wax Tarts– I’ll be Captain Obvious here and just tell you to keep these out of reach of your dog (or your dog’s wagging tail) to keep them, and you from getting burned.
  • Poinsettias, Mistletoe,  and Holly- Depending on the type, some  will just cause a tummy ache while other plants will cause death!
  • Antifreeze– It used to have a sweet taste that attracted animals to drink it and it’s highly toxic if ingested. Now, companies that make antifreeze have added something to their formulas to make it less attractive to animals.BUT there is still plenty of the old stuff still around and sometimes it leaks out of cars and makes puddles. So watch your dog when walking her.
  • Salted walks and roads– The chemicals they put in these salts that keep ice off the sidewalks are often toxic. They get stuck to your dog’s paws and then is ingested when he licks the salt off.Keep booties on your dog when outside in the winter or wipe your dogs paws when you come in after a walk.

Have I forgot anything? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list. Let’s all keep our fur babies safe!

Oh, also check out this article for more things to keep away from your Chi: Prevent Your Dog From Being Poisoned.







Chihuahua dog with Christmas bows on head

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