This holiday season, keep an eye out for your pet's safety. Take this list- check it twice- and you’ll be set.
Chocolate- toxic for dogs because of a chemical called theobromine. The less sweet the chocolate, the more potent. Six squares of backing chocolate per 20 lbs is considered lethal for canines.
Raisins- Raisins (and the grapes from which they are derived) are also toxic to dogs, causing acute renal failure, though the actual cause is unknown. Large quantities are generally required to cause a reaction but sensitive dogs can be affected.
Fatty foods such as poultry trimmings, gravy, etc can cause GI upset and should be avoided. Cooked turkey and chicken bones can splinter. Actually, it's best to toss leftovers rather than give them to your pets. Too much people food can give diarrhea. If you're tossing those leftovers (or even aluminum foil from cooking or something like that) in the trash can, secure it so they don't rummage for leftovers themselves!
Onions or garlic- contain sulfides and can cause anemia.
Nuts- macadamias are commonly found in cookies and other foods around the holidays. While no nut is totally healthy for our pets, macadamias- as few as 6 shelled nuts- can cause a loss of motor skills, development of tumors, and other ill effects.
Alcohol- just an ounce can put a small dog or cat into a coma!
Coffee, soda- caffeine is a big no-no for your dog, and coffee beans should NOT be eaten
Holiday decorations can be hazardous, too:
Christmas Tree preservatives- make sure you use a sugar based compound that is labeled non-toxic. Better yet- don't let your dogs drink the water. The water can contain fertilizers or other chemicals from the tree farm and this can make your pups sick.
Fake snow- make sure it's labeled non-toxic
Ribbon, foil, "icicles"- can cause obstructions and some contain lead. Anything "stringy" like this can actually cut or perforate the intestines like a saw!!
Ornaments- some are glass, some contain metal, *hooks*, etc and if you've got a chewer you can run into serious problems here. Unbreakable ornaments are safest. Place your fragile ornaments on the top if you intend to use them and secure them ALL.
Electrical cords and light strings- make sure your pets can't chew on them.
Plants: poinsettias aren't as toxic as they are often thought to be. Still, these (along with mistletoe and holly to a larger degree) are poisonous and can cause irritation like vomiting, lethargy, pain (abdominal, oral), and even shock. Mistletoe can actually cause serious heart problems.
Don't let your pets eat the needles from the tree- they can cause blockages and other digestive upsets. Make sure your tree is secure!
Candles: obviously, one of the biggest dangers here is that a pet would be burned by a lit candle or even knock over a candle and cause a fire. Dripping wax or even consumption of a yummy scented candle can also create problems.
Tree: secure it to the wall if you can to keep it tipping and falling.
Water from the tree base: don't let your pet drink this as it can contain toxins emitted by the tree.
Batteries from decorations and toys- if you remove them, be sure they are in a safe place.
Toxic chemicals and compounds: Be cautious of tracking in ice melting products that might be toxic to your pets. Also keep them away from puddles on the ground that may be antifreeze leaked from cars. Dogs will drink the sweet smelling liquid and die.
Parties, guests- crowds of people can be overwhelming. First of all, make sure your pet is secure before opening the door so they don't bolt.
Second, be there to introduce new people to your dog. If you have a nervous pup, it may be best to have someone familiar watch him/her if possible; or if you must, keep them in a separate room. This added stimulation can be really stressful and overwhelming for a dog.