Puppy Safety: When Decorations Kill

A puppy’s approach to the world, outside the box he was born in, is quite simply, to eat it! This includes shoes, toys, sofa cushions, and just about anything else he can put into his mouth. If the object is too big to fit, the puppy will whittle it down to size with his pin-like baby teeth and make it fit.

While this imp-like behavior is destructive, it can also prove fatal for the puppy. For example, one good-sized bite out of a bar of soap containing harsh chemicals and the odds against making it to the vet in time before the puppy convulses and dies are ten to one.

The fat-soaked trussing cord from the turkey has been known to become entangled in the intestines of a puppy. In most cases, the owner is not aware that the puppy has gotten to the turkey or leftover bones until it is too late. An unsupervised puppy is like an unsupervised infant crawling around on the floor.

Puppies are also very attracted to decorations and ornaments, which includes magnets, pins, and needles. Splinters of wood, glass, and plastic are equally dangerous – for all are dagger-like and can puncture your puppy’s throat or become lodged in the intestines.

Some of the old-fashioned Christmas tree ornaments were manufactured using radium to make them glow in the dark. In a puppy’s stomach, this is a lethal poison.

Soft rubber of the type found in bath toys is also extremely dangerous for puppies. Veterinarians report that rubber is one of the most common causes of surgery in puppies and young dogs. The soft rubber tears easily and can stick to the puppy’s insides causing total blockage of the intestinal track.

And right after Christmas time, just about the time you feel you have everything picked up and out of harm’s way, your puppy could be gnawing on a string of tree lights. A 110-volt jolt to the mouth can be lethal.

The secret of surviving the holidays (or any other time of celebration with decorations around the house) and all your decorations for that matter, without harm coming to your puppy is supervision.  Keep in mind that it only takes a second for a puppy to choke on a gift wrap ribbon, or be strangled by a small ball lodged in his throat.

In one town, what started out as a happy time during one lovely Christmas turned into a tragedy when the rubber band on a paddle-ball toy broke. The puppy reached the loose rubber ball before the child, and within a few seconds, the ball was firmly lodged in the puppy’s throat.

There’s no use in saying ‘No’ to a puppy in a roomful of Christmas decorations. No amount of scolding will make the puppy less curious. It may temper him for a moment, but the temptations to a young pup will overcome all of your ‘No-nos’, no matter how emphatic. A puppy’s stomach is a strong organ and can digest a lot of strange things, but aluminum icicles and rubber bands are not included.