Holiday Safety Pet Tips

Poinsettia_2The holiday’s can be very busy in the life of the family and especially those with pets. It is also a time that pet owners need to take some extra precautions to protect their pets from getting sick, swallowing foreign objects, and other related holiday decorations that may be harmful to your pets. Here are some holiday safety pet tips for you to follow to keep your pet save during the holidays.
Trees, Lights and Plants
  • Many holiday plants can lead to health problems for both cats and dogs. Among these are the holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies. Be sure to keep these out of reach of your pets.
  • Pine needles from trees can be harmful if ingested. They can puncture holes in a pet’s intestine. So clean-up fallen pine needles to keep them away from pets.
  • The extra cords and plugs of holiday lights and other fixtures can look like chew toys to pets. Tape down or cover cords to help avoid shocks, burns or other serious injuries. Unplug lights when you are not home.
  • Anchor Christmas trees to the ceiling with a string to keep it from falling on pets. This is also a good tip in case your pet should accidentally topple the tree when playing with something on it.
Snow & Water
  • Snow globes often contain antifreeze, which is poisonous to pets. Keep these away from pets when they are outdoors.
  • When outdoors during the winter months, keep your pet on a leash so they will not be tempted to lick snow especially when plowed. It contains salt and other chemicals which is not good for your pets.
  • Do not let pets drink the holiday tree water. Some may contain fertilizers, and stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria. Check labels for tree water preservatives and artificial snow, and buy only those that are nontoxic. Some folks use screens around trees to block access to electrical cords and gifts.
  • Do not put aspirin in the water (some folks do this thinking it will keep the tree or plant more vigorous). If a pet should ingest the aspirin-laced water, his health or even life can be at risk.
Decorations & Toys
  • Pets, particularly cats, can be tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines. Be sure to hand it high enough to keep it out of your pets reach.
  • Keep other ornaments out of reach of pets. Ingestion of any ornament, which might look like toys to pets, can result in life-threatening emergencies. Even ornaments made from dried food can lead to ailments. And remember, shards from broken glass ornaments can injure paws, mouths and other parts of the body.
  • Put away toys after children open their gifts. Small plastic pieces and rubber balls are common causes of choking and intestinal blockage in dogs. Ingested plastic or cloth toys must often be removed surgically.
  • Avoid toxic decorations. Bubbling lights contain fluid that can be inhaled or ingested, snow sprays and snow flock can cause reactions when inhaled, styrofoam poses a choking hazard, tinsel can cause choking and intestinal obstruction, and water in snow scenes may contain toxic organisms such as Salmonella.
  • Keep candles on high shelves. Use fireplace screens to avoid burns.
  • Holiday guests and other activity can be very stressful and even frightening to pets. It can also trigger illness and intestinal upset. Make sure pets have a safe place to retreat in your house. And make sure they are wearing current I.D. in case they escape out a door when guests come and go.
  • Do not let guests feed your pet’s human food.
  • There are many holiday foods, including fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin, bones, chocolate and alcohol that can cause illnesses from vomiting and diarrhea to highly serious pancreatitis and other toxic reactions. In addition, candy wrappers, aluminum foil pieces and ribbons can choke pets. So, instruct your guests of your house rules for feeding food to your pets.
Reduce Your Pets Stress
  • Reduce stress by keeping his/her feeding and exercise on a regular schedule.
  • Always make time to care for your pets. Some folks get lax about walking their dogs, and a few resort to letting pets out on their own. This puts the animal in danger, while also leading to nuisance complaints and dog bite incidents.
  • When pets are stressed by holiday activity or during travel, they may require more water. Dogs typically pant more when they feel stressed. Keep fresh water available for them to drink.
Final Tips
  • Keep pets away when wrapping gift packages. Ingested string, plastic, cloth and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require surgical removal. And pets have been severely injured by scissors and other items left on floors and tables.
  •  Keep pets away from the garbage. Use pet-proof containers.
  •  If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, call your veterinarian and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
  • If your pet ingests glass, broken plastic, staples or other small, sharp objects, call your veterinarian.
House Detectors
Now is a good time to double-check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety devices and replace batteries. Safety, of course, is the key reason — but here’s another good reason. When batteries run low, the devices often emit alert or alarm sounds at frequencies that can be painful and frightening to many pets. If you’re not home when the alert/alarm sounds, your animals will have to endure that sound until you return, which can be traumatic. So always keep fresh batteries in those devices.
By following these holiday safety pet tips you will ensure that everyone in your family will have a safe and happy holiday season for you and your pets.
I care about pet cats and dogs and just like to communicate information to help new and existing pet owners take good care of their pets. Visit my website at for more wonderful cat articles and stuff to buy.
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