Practicing Pet Safety for the Holidays

There is so much going on around Christmas time. Things may even get a little chaotic. But don’t forget about your dog or cat. Be sure to practice pet safety for the holidays by being aware of and reducing certain dangers.

Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree itself probably isn’t much of a danger. Just be careful your dog or cat doesn’t knock it down. Cats may like to climb the tree. The ornaments on the Christmas tree could be an issue with your pet. If you have a pet, it is probably not a good idea to have food like popcorn string decorating your tree. If your dog likes to chew, keep tinsel, ornaments, and Christmas lights out of his reach. Be especially careful of glass ornaments. Cats and dogs alike may try to play with them and hurt themselves.

Holiday Decor
Plants like poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe are poisonous. Consider imitation plants instead or keep the plants out of reach of your pets. Other holiday decor which could be dangerous is candles. A dog with a wagging tail may accidentally knock over a lit candle and a cat may accidentally walk by a lit candle and catch his tail on fire. Also be careful of holiday decor which may be enticing to your pet as a toy. Cats love to play and although there may not be much danger in that, some decor can get broken and cut someone. Small children may pick up what your cat knocked over. Dogs may mistake some decor, such as stuffed snowmen or santas, as chew toys.

Christmas Presents
Keep small Christmas presents out of reach. Cats may play with them and unintentionally break the gift. Dogs may chew them. Especially keep stockings with candy and small toys out of reach. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and other candy may upset his stomach. Small toys may be mistaken as chew toys. Your dog may accidentally ingest one and choke or get it lodged in his intestines which may require an emergency surgery to remove it.

Christmas Dinner
Much holiday food is not good for your pet. Do not give your dog turkey or ham bones. Other holiday foods may have spices and fats which will upset your dog’s stomach. Cookies and other sweets could also upset your dog’s stomach. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and macadamia nuts may be as well. Also, if you serve hors d’oeurves for a Christmas party, be sure all the toothpicks are picked up and thrown away. Or don’t use toothpicks at all. This could be very bad for your dog if he tries to chew one. And one last thing about holiday food – be sure to throw leftovers and bones in the outside trash or in a trash can which your dog can’t get into.

Holiday Visitors
The people you invite to your home probably are not a danger to your pets. Otherwise you wouldn’t have invited them, right? But with all the visitors going in and out, they may not be used to pets and may accidentally let them out. Or they may accidentally leave a door open. It only takes a moment for a pet to slip through and go outside to explore. Be sure your guests are all aware of where the pets are and are not allowed. Let your guests know about any issues, such as a dog liking to bolt and not coming when called or a cat being sneaky and squeezing out the door. If you know that one of your pets has this issue, consider keeping him confined to certain areas of the house only. For example, use a pet gate to keep him away from the entryway to the front door. Also make sure your pets are wearing their collars and id tags for in case they do get out.

Young children may also be a danger to pets and vice versa. Make sure children and pets are supervised. Young children may not understand that they are doing something to hurt your pet. If your pet growls or gives warning, a child may not understand what that means and it could lead to the child being bitten.

So for a quick re-cap, beware of holiday items which your pet may break, chew, or knock over. Be careful about your pet eating poisonous holiday plants, candy, or other holiday foods. And make sure your pets are secured indoors and are supervised with children. Puppies and kittens can be especially vulnerable since they have not had much training yet and may be enticed by all the new things and new people around.

Be safe and have a Merry Christmas!

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