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Christmas Holiday Dog Safety 101

Heading into this festive season, the month of December can be a celebratory and joyful time. Yet, nothing can dampen the Christmas spirit quicker than an unexpected trip to your local Vets. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Ireland (APDTI) warmly extends a helping hand to ensure that your Christmas holidays remain merry and safe for both you and your cherished pets. Here are some invaluable tips to navigate the season with your furry friends in mind.

Plan in Advance: Before the tinsel is hung and the stockings are filled, take a moment to plan ahead. Keep essential phone numbers, like your local Vet office emergency details handy and in an easily accessible location. Ensure your dog's microchip details are up to date in case they decide to go for a winter stroll or the stormy weather knocks down your secure fencing.

Food Safety: The Christmas season often means indulging in a few festive treats, but not all foods are safe for our pets. The following people foods are especially dangerous for pets:

  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. It's safest to consider all chocolate off limits for pets, even though the harm it can cause varies based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount eaten.

  • Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich for pets; they may contain an artificial sweetener known as Xylitol, which has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs. ( So make sure that any cookies you might leave out for Rudolph are kept well out of reach of Fido.

  • Bones and Scraps– It might be tempting to give Fido a nice Turkey leg as a special treat for the Christmas, but bones can cause choking or intestinal blockage. Cooked bones in particular are notorious for splitting into shards with the potential to cause serious harm. Other scraps to keep an eye out for is anything that might contain onions, raisins, or grapes. So be sure to educate all your family members and all your visiting guests not to give any sneaky bits for Fido under the table.

  • Unbaked yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating. So keep the baking to the kitchen worktop.

Tinsel, with its festive allure, poses a significant risk when ingested by dogs. Tinsel, due to its nature, can wrap itself around a dog's tongue and cause complications as it progresses through the digestive tract. This entanglement may lead to intestinal injuries and bacterial infections, with potential consequences that can be severe or life-threatening. Watch for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness, and pawing at the mouth. Call your vets immediately if you have any concerns.

Guests and Gatherings: We would encourage you to create a quiet retreat for your dog during gatherings and family visits. A Doggy Bedroom if you will. A large amount of people in their space can be overwhelming if your dog is not used to it, not to mention the loud chatter of talking, laughing, music and crackers exploding can also be a daunting situation we wouldn't want our pets in. Guests with Dogs: If guests ask to bring their own dogs and you don't know how they will get along, you can either politely decline their request or plan to spend some time helping the dogs to get to know each other, supervising their interactions, monitoring for signs of stress ( and taking action to avoid altercations or injuries to either dog. If you need a professional opinion on the matter or help to introduce two dogs together, be sure to find your local APDTI accredited Dog Trainer ( By incorporating these tips, you can create a holiday atmosphere that embraces the well-being of your pets, making every moment together special. The APDTI wishes you and your furry companions a festive season filled with joy, warmth, laughter and unforgettable moments. Have a Merry Christmas!


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