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Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe at Christmas

All Dog Advice

Pine needles, glass decorations, left over food and an abundance of chocolate – this might sound like your average family Christmas but for dogs and their owners it can be an extremely hazardous environment. A survey carried out by Churchill Pet Insurance and dog rehoming website has revealed Christmas to be a hazardous time of year for dogs and their owners. With alcohol, bad weather, crowded homes and Christmas decorations contributing most to the problem.

Almost half of all dog owners admitted over-feeding their dog during the festive season. Normal table scraps, that are fine in moderation, soon mount up over Christmas and Boxing Day and dogs are often the grateful recipients of the overspill, but founder Ryan O'Meara warns against giving your dog anything extra from the table.

Ryan continues, “It can be hugely tempting to give into those big puppy dog eyes, but remember, the leftovers from Christmas aren't best suited to dogs. Find something equally tempting and rewarding to give your dog while you tuck into your Christmas dinner to keep their attentions focused.”

But no matter how disciplined dog owners during the holiday season, there is no legislating for the 31{d4f4ff813a06e2c77cbb9c6effe011ebffe2f8986e44983e90e08c54deb62f63} of dogs that manage to help themselves. Dog owners are being advised to curb this problem by ensuring that their dog is banished from the kitchen when food is being prepared. The smell of the food coupled with the proximity of that turkey leg can often be too much temptation. Almost half of all dog owners surveyed reported (45{d4f4ff813a06e2c77cbb9c6effe011ebffe2f8986e44983e90e08c54deb62f63}) that their dog has been involved in or caused an accident in the kitchen on Christmas day. Crowded kitchens and the extra food coupled with the excitement of Christmas dinner make the kitchen a dangerous environment for curious dogs.

Top Five Christmas Hazards

1) Chocolate 
2) Antifreeze on the ground 
3) Pine needles 
4) Glass decorations 
5) Crowded kitchens

But the kitchen isn't the only cause for concern during Christmas. 81{d4f4ff813a06e2c77cbb9c6effe011ebffe2f8986e44983e90e08c54deb62f63} percent of dog owners that participated in the survey reported that their dog had destroyed at least one Christmas present. A similar amount (79{d4f4ff813a06e2c77cbb9c6effe011ebffe2f8986e44983e90e08c54deb62f63}) said that they avoided putting up a real Christmas tree due to the potential for injury. Almost half of those that did favour a real Christmas tree reported that their dog had been injured at least once by pine needles, mostly when they become lodged in the dog's paw.

Just under a third of participants reported that their dog had at one point, been injured or come to harm as a direct result of Christmas festivities. Alcohol and decorations were the main causes, while theobromine poisoning caused by chocolate consumption was a major worry. House guests leaving doors to off-limits rooms also posed a problem to cautious dog owners, with some reporting that canine escape attempts during the Christmas period were higher.

Christmas Safety Tips For Dog Owners

1) Dog owners with nervous pets should avoid using crackers in the presence of their dog 
2) Chocolate should be kept out of your dog's reach
3) Bins should be emptied regularly to prevent foraging
4) Dogs should be provided with a calm area away from foot traffic to escape the hustle and bustle
5) Dogs should be banished from the kitchen when food is being cooked
6) Fake trees are safer than real ones. Keep the lights away from ground level and consider putting the tree on a table

Adam Whiteley, Head of Churchill Pet Insurance, said: “It’s no surprise so many owners like to treat their four-legged friends as much as the rest of the family over the festive season. We're certainly a nation of dog-lovers. However, we want to raise awareness of the potential risks facing pets this Christmas.  We’d advise pet owners to keep human goodies and other potentially hazardous items well out of the reach of their hungry and inquisitive four-legged friends, as treating pets for illness or injury can be very costly. 
“We strongly recommend pet insurance being put in place to cover any unforeseen vet bills and to give owners peace of mind in the event of a pet needing veterinary treatment.”

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