Christmas is a holiday of merriment and relaxation for many, but it's also a time of year when you should exercise plenty of care and caution when it comes to your dog. Don't allow the holiday spirit and sometimes hectic pace to ever interfere with household pet safety. For instance, pine needles and dogs don't mix well. The needles of Christmas trees, while festive, can be hazardous to pets — and can make your pet ill, possibly causing digestive tract issues or throat obstruction.
Pine needles and dogs
Dogs can be highly inquisitive and exploratory creatures, and love putting their mouths on new things. Therefore, it's important to keep your dog from chewing on your real Christmas tree — remember to the dog, it's just a live tree. Also, watch the pine needles that drop on the floor. If your pet consumes these needles, they could bring upon a couple of serious gastrointestinal problems.
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Not only are these needles capable of causing blockage in the digestive system, they also can make tiny holes in the intestines. The risk is real for artificial trees too. Pine needles don't have to be real to be a problem for dogs. The fake ones can be equally perilous if ingested.
Throat obstruction dangers
Needles from Christmas trees can lead to intestinal blockage, and also can do the same to the throat. Christmas tree needles are extremely pointy and are often extremely small. If your pet consumes them, they can cause throat obstruction — definitely not something you want on Christmas or any other day.
If this happens to your dog's throat, he'll likely have trouble swallowing. Vomiting is another sign of distress. If your dog is vomiting pine needles, real or artificial, or attempting to, take him to a vet immediately.
Pine needles and dogs' paws
Christmas tree needles aren't only hazards for dogs' mouths, but also for their paws. If a lot of these needles are lingering on the floor, you run the risk of them getting trapped on your pet's paws, a seriously uncomfortable and painful situation for him.
Pine needles are sharp and can poke paws, noses, and even eyes. Unless you're vacuuming daily, pine needles and dogs are going to be an issue during the holidays. Opting for an artificial tree will reduce this risk, or select a low-needle drop variety of real trees such as the Nordman Fir.
Other Christmas tree concerns for dogs
In addition to pine needles, other things related to Christmas trees can pose health problems for your pet. For instance, do not allowing your pet to drink the water that is at the bottom of the tree. This water, which is sometimes full of bacteria, can lead to possible throwing up, diarrhea, oral sores, and decreased appetites in dogs.
Also, the water is possibly toxic considering the chemicals that could leach from the tree. Cover the tree water with a a sturdy top. If your pet drinks Christmas tree water, watch for vomiting or signs of distress. Contact your veterinarian immediately.