Pet safety over the holidays

December 23, 2006

Besides helping shelter and rescue organizations during this busy time of year, what about your furry friends at home? Are you giving one as a gift? (Not a good idea, but in reality, this is what many folks do so it’s better to take a few precautions to minimize the stress all around!) Are you trying to keep small animals out from under foot when company comes? Here’s what the Montgomery County Humane Society recommends:

Main Shelter Information: 240-773-5960

Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and special care should be taken to ensure that all pets enjoy a wonderful holiday too. The following tips show how to avoid some of the dangers that accompany this time of year.

  • Beware of holiday plants. Mistletoe, holly, Christmas rose, and poinsettias are all poisonous. Keep them out of reach. [Web of Life note: The ASPCA‘s Animal Poison Control Center says poinsettias are not poisonous — for cats — although they can cause upset stomach and related short-term discomfort. But why take any chances? Just keep your pets and plants apart to begin with.]
  • Firmly secure the Christmas tree so that it is kitty/doggie proof and make sure that all the ornaments are secured and will cause no danger to pets. Remove fallen needles as soon as possible, and don’t let your pet drink from the tree’s water supply. Make sure all light and extension cords are out of your pet’s way. Whenever possible, unplug unnecessary cords.
  • Ceramic ornaments with lead glaze or sprayed snow can be toxic. If you enjoy these ornaments, make sure to hang them out of your pet’s reach.
  • Tinsel, icicles, ribbon, garland, angel hair, yarn, string and ornament hangers are especially dangerous. These seemingly innocent items can become tangled in your pet’s intestine and require major surgery to remove. Use lace, wide ribbon, tulle, homemade cloth or wooden ornaments instead.
  • Keep a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace. Be sure candles and potpourri burners are out of reach of your pet, or they could burn themselves or knock them over.
  • Human holiday foods are often inappropriate and dangerous for pets. Chocolate contains a chemical deadly to dogs and chicken bones splinter and are dangerous if chewed or eaten. [WebOfLife note: Especially true of DARK chocolate! Do not — repeat, do NOT — allow your pet to ingest dark chocolate! Can be fatal in a matter of hours! See the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control center for more info.] Other foods such as turkey skin or ham can be too rich for your pet’s digestive system and can lead to an upset stomach.
  • Make sure to let guests know you have pets and the doors need to stay securely closed so the pets don’t escape.
  • With strangers in your home, or if in a friend’s or relative’s home, your pet may feel safer and actually be safer in a quiet room away from the excitement.

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