10 Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

by Rebecca on December 22, 2011

in Animal Health

From Animal Health Foundation:

When celebrating the winter festivities, don’t forget to keep holiday pet dangers in mind. It may require some changes to your normal decorating or dining routine, but these tips can help you create a pet-safe holiday that is fun for the whole family.

  1. Practice fire safety. Nothing looks nicer than a table aglow with candles. But be sure to never leave any fire unattended particularly when you have pets in the house. Not only can curious whiskers get burned, if a candle is knocked over by a wagging tail, it can lead to a serious fire.
  2. Hoard the people food. Although it’s tempting to give your pets a taste or two from your Thanksgiving plate, too much human food can be bad for your pet’s health. For more about what people food to share and not to share over the holidays, click here.
  3. Hide the breakables. Holiday feasts can mean bringing out treasured items like Great Aunt Mae’s fine china or your finest stemware. Just remember that your beloved pets don’t know the value of these items, and they could get broken. So if you have favorite, breakable decorations or table settings, be sure to keep them out of reach.
  4. Watch out for toxic plants. Many holiday plants, including mistletoe, holly, poinsettia, and even that beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece of lilies can be toxic to pets. If you must decorate with these holiday pet dangers, keep them well away from curious paws and mouths.
  5. A toast to everyone’s health. When you raise that glass of holiday bubbly, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where Fluffy or Fido can’t sneak a taste. Alcohol and pets simply don’t mix. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill, go into a coma or worse.
  6. How sweet it isn’t. Although many people like to leave out chocolates for visitors throughout the holidays, it’s important to remember that these sweets are major pet dangers. Chocolate is tasty for you, but it’s toxic for Fluffy and Fido.
  7. Keep the lights high. Many people enjoy decorating with strings of lights during the holidays, but do so with caution. Twinkling lights make a shiny toy, but they’re not safe to play with or chew on. Keep your celebrations shock-free by hanging lights up high.
  8. Don’t decorate with food. Strings of cranberries and popcorn can be a beautiful way to liven up your household, and a fun project to do with your kids, but they’re holiday hazards for pets. Even if the food on the string isn’t toxic for Fido or Fluffy, they may end up eating the string—and that can cause serious health problems.
  9. Steer clear of tinsel town. Tinsel is more than just a glittery decoration. If your pets eat it, it can cause intestinal problems that require a trip to the veterinarian.
  10. Wrap it up. If you like to display your holiday presents, watch out for ribbons, bells, and other small toys that can present a choking hazard for your pet. If there are any dangerous-looking gifts, it may be a good idea to hide them safely in a closet until it’s time to open them—or open them right away. After all, no one can accuse you of being rude if you’re doing it to have a pet-safe holiday.


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