Holiday Safety Tips

1. If you live in cold weather areas, your Frenchie needs a coat or AND sweater to keep him warm when he goes outside. If he doesn’t want to walk or cries during your walks, you may think about adding boots—your Frenchie’s feet may be too cold, and it takes time to toughen up those pawpads for winter walking.

2. Do not leave your dog outside alone in sub-freezing temps for any length of time. This includes the car! Leave your Frenchie at home while you do your gift shopping and errands. He’ll be happier in the warm indoors, and you’ll be more relaxed knowing he’s safe at home.

3. If you walk your dog in an area that uses road salt to keep the streets clear of ice, be sure to wash your dog’s feet when you get home (a 9×11 jelly roll or cake pan with a quarter inch of warm, lightly soapy water is all you need. Have your dog walk through the water and dry his paws). Or use a very wet cloth and wash his feet. FBRN’s holiday shopping mall is offering a product to protect your frog’s feet: Pawz Guard.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, allow your dog to get near the anti-freeze! Anti-freeze has a sweet taste and is appealing to pets, but it is deadly, even in very small amounts. We recommend you let the people at the oil change shop put in the anti-freeze: don’t even keep it at your home.

5. If you are entertaining this holiday season, keep your pets away from the treats, especially chocolate- and alcohol-laden goodies. Never give a dog cooked bones, and limit table scraps. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis.

6. Winter plants like mistletoe and holly can cause intestinal distress and other problems.

7. Don’t decorate with tinsel strands on the tree, unless you have a couple of thousand dollars for a linear foreign body surgery to save your dog’s life. Be sure to keep breakable ornaments on the higher branches. Don’t leave anything edible in the tree or under it, even if it’s wrapped. And don’t leave your dog unattended with the tree–your idea of what’s edible and his idea of what’s edible may be two different things!

Just a reminder about the perils that the upcoming holidays pose to Frenchies. A dog tragedy will spoil your fun for sure, and many can be avoided if you exercise some caution.

More obvious dangers are turkey bones or any poultry bones, which can splinter and injure the dog’s mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract, or cause an obstruction. Less obvious is turkey skin, or anything fatty. Excess fat in the diet is the #1 cause of pancreatitis in dogs, and that can be fatal. So ignore those pleading looks on Thanksgiving and give your dog a dog treat instead. And of course, chocolate (way too available at holiday time) is a big no-no.

Another overlooked danger at the holidays is tinsel, ribbon, yarn, string… any “linear foreign body.” If a dog (or cat, as they tend to go for those more than dogs do) eats a string or anything similar (dental floss is a killer), it will stretch out in the intestinal tract and if one end of it becomes anchored somewhere, movements of the gut will cause it to “saw” through the intestinal wall. The resulting spillage of gut contents into the body cavity can be rapidly fatal.

Styrofoam packing peanuts or a chunk of styrofoam cup or plate, especially something that’s had something tasty in it, can get stuck in the airway and kill a Frenchie. If it gets down into the gut, it can cause a blockage.

Plants like mistletoe, amaryllis, holly are very toxic, but poinsettia (while it can irritate a dog’s mouth and stomach) is not as toxic as it’s been described.

The little disc batteries that are used in watches, hearing aids, and some blinking jewelry and games are irresistable to dogs, but are potentially deadly. If swallowed it can very quickly start leaking caustic materials that will burn the stomach or gut. Get to the vet or emergency clinic immediately.

Just be extra vigilant, and you can keep your Frenchie safe until the new year. Jan Grebe