Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

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The holiday season is in full swing, and many pet parents want to include their furry friends in the festivities. With all the focus on decorations, feasting, and gathering with family and friends, it is important to be aware of the dangers that lurk behind the glitz and glitter of the holidays.  Here are some important tips to keep your pets safe and secure during this joyous season.


Be Careful with Holiday Decorations

Keep your tree topple-free: Securely anchor your Christmas tree to prevent tipping and falling, which could injure your pet. A secured tree will also minimize the risk of tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling.

Keep water in the tree stand covered: Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he decide to take a sip.  Ensure the water in the tree is not accessible to your pet.

Be tinsel-free: Kitties love the sparkle and shimmer of tinsel.  They find it a thoroughly enjoyable, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But as much fun as tinsel may be as a toy, it is no fun if swallowed by kitty.  Ingested tinsel can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Go for a safe glow: Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves if they get too close to an open flame or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Use appropriate candleholders, and be sure that all candles are placed on a stable surface.  When leaving the room, ensure that the candles are blown out to prevent any burns or fires.

Bundle the baubles: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A nibble on a wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock to your pet and a punctured battery can cause chemical burns to the mouth and esophagus.  Broken ornaments can create shards of sharp plastic or glass that can injure your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

Stay sweet-free: Feeding your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol is extremely dangerous, but Fifi and Fido may go to great lengths to get ahold of something yummy, no matter how much you try to prevent it.  Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food.  It is important to also pay attention and secure the lids on garbage cans to prevent your pets from ingesting anything that could be dangerous.

Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and many human foods should never be fed to your four-legged friends.  Bones are also no-no’s for your pets.  As tempting as it is to give in to the woeful stare of your hungry pup or the persistent pat from a begging puss, it is always best to forego feeding any human food to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

Take Care with Cocktails: If your celebration includes holiday libations, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic beverages where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Plan Pet-Safe Holiday Get-togethers

House rules: Ensure your animal-loving guests understand your house rules when it comes to your pets.  Let them know any restrictions you have regarding feeding pets human food or if there are any sensitivities your pet may have to play or petting that might lead to a snap or scratch.  If your guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

A cozy place to hide: Give your pets their own quiet space to retreat to during gatherings.  Set them up with a cozy place to hide or snuggle away from the house guests—complete with fresh water. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture or another safe place in a separate room away from the hubbub.