Decorating for the holidays can be a lot of fun. Garland strewn banters, wreath decorated doors, sparking Christmas trees, vibrant Poinsettias, Mistletoe dangling in doorways, all make for a warm and inviting environment.  It really is a very exciting and fun time of year, but please, in all the decorating excitement,  do not forget to be safe. The responsibility is on us, as dog owners, to ensure the environment we create around our dogs is a safe one. When preparing to decorate, any time of year, both indoors and out, consult your veterinarian, local SPCA or even the internet for a list of plants that can be harmful to your under tree

Some plants to be aware of when dressing up your home this holiday season are, Mistletoe, Holly, Poinsettias Plants and Christmas Trees.

Mistletoe is very toxic. The bottom line on Mistletoe is to just not bring it into your home if you have pets. It causes significant vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, low heart rate, change in behaviour and if a large amount is ingested, death.

Holly is considered to be moderately to severely toxic. It can cause significant vomiting, diarrhea and unusually excessive drooling.

Poinsettia Plants are considered to be mildly toxic. The sap and the leaves of the poinsettia plant can cause oral irritation and vomiting.

Christmas Trees are also considered to be mildly toxic. The oils produced by the tree’s needles may cause oral irritation as well as gastrointestinal irritation if consumed. The standing water may contain bacteria, moulds, or other agents such as fertilizers that can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few sips.

Artificial plants are equally as beautiful and a safe decorating alternative for the above-listed live plants, especially Mistletoe. Take care in selecting these alternatives, as they too may  present a danger with any small pieces they may have and always ensure they are placed out of reach of  your curious four legged friend.

If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, stay calm, collect as much information as possible and call or go straight to your veterinarian.  If it is after hours, go to the closest emergency clinic.  You may also want to call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 or add to your favourites on your phone and hit the “Press to Call Now” button they service all of North America.

If you are looking for the perfect gift for your four legged friend, a Mammoth bed is a great gift idea. Your dog will need their own space among the holiday confusion. Perhaps your dog may get a guest to sleep over, another K-9 companion. Mammoth beds are large enough to share and will accommodate all breeds.

May you all have a festive and safe holiday.