Holidays are a great time for families and friends to get together to share a meal and each other's company. But please beware, some traditions during the holidays can be harmful to our pets. Check out the tips below, exercise solid common sense, and both you and your pets will enjoy the festivities of any gathering.
BASIC SAFETY TIPS:
Food and Drink - When we think about holidays we often think about food. Foods and drinks such as alcoholic beverages, walnuts, chocolate, seeds and pits from many fruits and other foods can be harmful to pets. Never feed pets leftovers from the dinner table. Items such as chicken bones can easily shatter and choke cats and dogs. For more, read about harmful foods for our pets.
Candles - Be careful of your placement of candles. Wagging tails can easily knock them over, slipping hot wax onto your carpet and furniture or, even worse, your pet could sustain a serious burn or start a fire. A pet standing too close to the flames can at a minimum end up with singed fur or whiskers.
Fireplaces - We love to see our pets sitting in front of our fireplace keeping warm, but please be careful as ashes and popping wood could harm your best friend. Always keep a fire screen in front of your fireplace while in use and a second screen can help to keep your pet further away from sparks. Even when not in use, close metal and glass doors tightly, you don't want your pet playing in an ash-filled fireplace.
Plants - Pets may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat! Certain plants such as Mistletoe berries, and the leaves, stem and flowers of Poinsettia can be dangerous to pets. Be sure to keep these plants well out of reach of animals in your home, or consider using artificial versions. You may also spray the plants leaves with "Bitter Apple" repellant. This may help keep your pets away from the plants. Also, pick up and toss any berries, leaves or stems that may have fallen off. For more, read about potentially dangerous plants.
Decorations - Keep your pet away from potentially hazardous decorations. Hanging decorations, such as streamers, light strings, fake spider webbing, ribbon, and tinsel can easily become tangled around your pet or, if swallowed, could cause serious digestive problems. And, keep small decorations away from your pet, since they could cause choking.
Electrical Cords - Tack them down or cover them! If your pet bites through an electrical cord it could result in a severe tongue burn. This could lead to respiratory distress as the burn will cause the pet's lungs to fill with fluid.
Costumes - If you decide to dress up your pet, make sure your pets costume is safe. Never leave your pet unsupervised in a costume. A costume should not constrict movement or obstruct your pet's vision, hearing, or ability to breathe or bark. Reflective tape on a pets costume may be useful in helping others see your pet, above all if you plan on your pet being in his costume after dark. Also, check the costume for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that your pet could choke on or may cause harm.
Some pets can be frightened of people in costume. At Halloween, keep your pets safely inside, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. Your pet will be less frightened and will not feel threatened by exuberant, costumed children. Keeping your pet securely in a bedroom or bathroom will also diminish any chance of your pet escaping through an open door.
Fireworks -Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays. Fireworks are fun for the family but not so fun for our pets. If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations. Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
A Note About Pet Identification - Holidays tend to be a busy time with lots of visitors who may accidentally leave a door or window open. It is important to make sure that your pet is wearing current identification. If your pet is microchipped, please make sure that your contact information is current.