Pet Tips

Christmas Safety for Pets – Pet tip 110

When Christmas time approaches it’s easy (and fun sometimes) to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. But before you do, it’s a good idea to consider your pets at this time of year, and make sure you’re doing all you can to give them a happy—and a safe—holiday season.

Food: Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without all of the delicious treats that come with it. Unfortunately, most of our favourite holiday snacks are also some of the most dangerous to our pets. Turkey, for one, can be dangerous to your pet if you are not careful to dispose of bones safely. Bones can easily puncture your pet’s lungs or digestive tract, or cause your animal to choke, either of which can potentially be fatal. Chocolate is another potential hazard, and can actually kill your dog or cat depending on their size, the type of chocolate and the quantity consumed. It can also lead to extreme hyperactivity or even seizures in your animal. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely eliminate chocolate from your holiday, but it does mean that you should be careful about the ways that you include chocolate in your celebrations. For example, it’s important to avoid keeping chocolates in easily accessible areas for pets, such as hanging in stockings or on your tree. If you feel like you have to give pets a special treat on Christmas day, try making their regular diet more exciting, say by giving them the canned version instead of dry.

Plants: Many of the beautiful and fragrant plants we fill our homes with at Christmas also put our pets at risk. Popular plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are extremely toxic if ingested, and can cause anything from gastrointestinal upset to cardiac problems to comas to death. For these reasons, these plants might be one of those things worth avoiding this Christmas. If you simply must have them, make sure you keep them far out of reach. Luckily, your Christmas tree isn’t toxic, and shouldn’t pose any serious threat to your pet, so long as you avoid using chemicals in the water.

Decorations: There are a wide range of decorations people use to brighten up their homes for the holidays, and a wide range of hazards that accompany them. From the toxic artificial snow in the windows to sharp staples and tacks that that deck the halls, decorations should be used with caution. All electrical wires should be taped down or placed behind heavy furniture. Also, gift wrapping supplies should be carefully stored. All of these items can be tempting for pets and are often mistaken for toys.

Guests: While you may have guests over throughout the year, Christmas generally means a lot more guests than usual, and a general air of excitement that can leave people a little more carefree (and careless) than usual. With so many people going in and out, the chance of your pet getting out of the house is greatly increased during the holidays. As always, it is important to make sure your animal has proper identification tags on at all times. Even better, find a place in your home that you can set aside for your pet for when the house gets busy; not only will this allow you to enclose them during times when the front door is opening and closing, but it will also give your pets a place of refuge for when they feel overwhelmed. Like anyone, your pets can become stressed by the crowds and noise at big family gatherings, and most will appreciate the chance to be alone for a while.

The last thing you want to do at Christmas is have to worry about your pet’s health and safety. Luckily by planning ahead and knowing what to look out for, you can feel confident in your pet’s well being and enjoy the holiday season together.

By Alison Norwich – writer

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