As the Holiday Season is getting closer each day, you probably want to include your furry companions in the festivities. But you must keep in mind that the food and the decorations that make our holidays so much fun can also be dangerous for your pet. You can help keep pets safe during the holiday season by following these tips:
- Cleanup regularly the fallen Christmas tree needles as they can be very sharp and easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat.
- Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Change regularly the tree water, as stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should it drink it.
- Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet, as mistletoe, lilies, poinsettias and hibiscus can be poisonous to pets.
- No human foods, as well as bones, should be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills. Keep in mind that chocolate is toxic for almost all animals as it contains a toxic substance called theobromine. Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
- Protect electric cords and tree lights so that your pets can’t chew them and get electrocuted. A punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth so keep batteries out of your pet’s reach.
- Use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. If you leave the room, don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.
- Avoid using tinsel, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery, if it’s swallowed. Remove any wrapping paper off the floor to avoid your pet chewing it or being suffocated by it.
- Place unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure. Every year, hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Clean up glasses after holiday parties. Dogs are often attracted by the sweet taste of drinks, especially eggnog.
- Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
- Keep in mind that strings of confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.
- Buy your pet’s present from a reputable pet shop or veterinary clinic. Make sure your pet doesn’t ingest any children’s toys.
- Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to — complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hustle.
Finally, remember that a pet is for life, so never give pets as surprise gifts. If someone is thinking about getting a new pet, give the new prospective owner a variety of dog toys, food, or books on dog care. You could also choose to give a gift certificate, so the person can choose his or her own pet after the holidays.
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