After Dog’s Death, Trainers Offers Tips to Keep Animals Safe Around Holiday Decor – NBC Chicago

Dog walker and trainer Liz Zaug found herself consoling her heartbroken friend and fellow dog owner last week, after his golden retriever choked on a ball at the park.

“While they are chewing it, it can become compressed and pop into the back of their throat,” Zaug explained.

The dog’s death prompted Liz to make a lengthy post on the Next Door app, alerting her neighbors of the danger.

“I just wanted other to be aware this could happen,” she said. “People think it’s a tennis ball, it’s safe, or it’s a chuck-it ball, it won’t be harmful, but that wasn’t true for my friend.”

Something similar to the shape of a small tennis ball is a Christmas tree ornament. The level of danger for dogs jumps in December, as new, shiny and interesting décor goes up in homes and along the streets.

“You’ve got foods, you’ve got decorations, you’ve got great parties,” said Lydia Krupinski, who works for Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society. “Those are the most prone times where pets can get in trouble.”

Krupinski suggests keeping décor above your dog’s reach and opt for fake plants and an artificial Christmas tree. If you get a real tree, make sure to not put any additives into the water.

It’s also important to protect lights from chewing by using cord covers and unplug when you’re not home, as your dog is more likely to leave the strand of lights alone when they’re dark.

“Look at it as if it’s baby-proofing, so whatever a toddler could get themselves into trouble with,” Krupinski added.

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