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Beagle trying to bite a Christmas present during the holidays

QUESTION:

My two-year-old Basenji is a very curious pup and still gets into things and chews on occasion. For the past two years, as a safety precaution, I kept holiday decorating to a minimum. I did not have poinsettias, lights, or candles – in fact, I hardly decorated at all aside from a tabletop tree. This year I would really like to decorate and feel more relaxed about doing so without worrying that my dog will ingest or destroy my holiday decorations. I especially love live Poinsettias, but I’m concerned about my dog getting into it. Are these plants highly toxic to dogs? While I can try to keep her away from the actual plant, I’m a bit worried about the leaves dropping and her getting into them. Any pointers you can provide to help me keep my dog safe this Holiday season would be excellent.

 

ANSWER:

It sounds like you are taking a responsible-dog-owner approach to your Christmas decorating. Pet owners need to be aware of hazards posed to their dogs from the puppy years all throughout their lives. From ingestion dangers to electric shock, many customary Christmas decorations can be hazardous to dogs and cats.

Poinsettias are a mildly toxic plant and should certainly be used with caution, but the dangers are hardly ever serious or fatal. The milky white sap found in poinsettias contains chemicals similar to those in detergents and when large quantities are ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or sometimes diarrhea may be seen. Skin irritation can occur when in contact with the milky white sap as well. Due to the low level of toxicity seen with poinsettia ingestion, you are safe to use them in your house with caution. All reasonable precautions should be made such as keeping plants and decorations out of your dog’s reach and never leaving your dog unattended when decorations, plants and potentially hazardous foods are present.

While medical treatment is rarely necessary when a dog ingests a leaf from a poinsettia plant, you should contact your veterinarian if clinical signs appear in your dog. Below is a more detailed list of common Christmas plants that are dangerous to dogs.

And a helpful video on ways to keep your dog safe this Christmas

Happy and Safe Holidays to you and your dog!

Common Holiday and Christmas Plants that are Dangerous to Dogs

  • Peace lily
  • Calla lily
  • Amaryllis
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Giant Dracaena
  • Palm Lily
  • Holly – the berry and leaf
  • Mistletoe

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