The holiday season is a time filled with family, food and festivities. But before you deck those halls with holly, make this year’s season jolly by keeping the following pet safety tips in mind:
Many holiday plants can lead to health problems in dogs and cats. Be careful where you place your holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies.
Holiday trees are not poisonous but can still be hazardous.
Keep pines needles out of pet areas. When pine needles are ingested, they can puncture holes in pet’s intestines. Live and artificial needles on trees are sharp and can irritate the mouth and digestive tract if eaten.
Do not let pets drink the tree water. Some may contain fertilizers, and stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria. Also, do not put aspirin in the water (to keep the tree fresh). This can put your pet’s health at risk. Cover the tree water with a tree skirt or towel to prevent pet access to the water.
Avoid using bubble lights that contain fluid, artificial snow sprays or scents on your tree. They are toxic if inhaled. Styrofoam also poses a choking hazard.
Pets tend to chew on cords and plugs on lights. Cover or tape down lights to prevent injury. When not at home, be sure to unplug lights.
If needed, use a screen as a barrier around the tree to block access to tree water, needles, electrical cords and gifts.
Try not to decorate your tree with food. Pets will try and eat popcorn, gingerbread and candy canes right off the tree.
Secure your tree to the ceiling or wall using two eyehooks and fishing wire so your pet can’t knock it over.
Avoid tinsel. It can be very attractive and dangerous to your cat. Tinsel can block intestines.
Keep glass ornaments off the bottom of your tree. Shards from broken glass ornaments can infect pet paws and mouths.
After opening gifts, put them away. Small pieces like rubberbands, balls, and plastic pieces can cause intestinal blockage and choking in pets and must be removed surgically.
Place a fireplace screen in front of the fireplace and keep all candles high up on shelves and countertops.
Guests and “out of routine” activities can be stressful to pets. Make sure your pets have a quiet, safe place to go in your home. Make sure your pet is wearing identification in case they mistakenly get out of your yard.
Try and keep the routine the same by feeding and exercising them regularly. This will reduce stress.
Even though you have a house full of guests, don’t forget to make time for your pets.
Pets get stressed when traveling and may require more water than usual. Have fresh water available for them to drink.
Fill your pets stockings with chew toys that are indestructable and safely digestible. Dogs can tear certain toys apart, swallowing pieces that can lodge in their esophagus, stomach or intestines.
The most dangerous toys for cats contain ribbon, yarn, and loose parts that get stuck in their intestines. Safe toys for cats are stuffed catnip toys or a ball that is too big to swallow.
Take care of your pets so they too can have a happy and healthy holiday season!