Keep your pets safe at Christmas

Keep your pet safe at Christmas

Here are some tips for keeping pets safe at Christmas time:

• If you have a real Christmas tree, keep the water in the stand covered so your animals can’t drink it. The pine sap is dangerous if ingested.

• Secure the tree to a wall or the ceiling with fishing line and a hook to prevent pets from knocking it over.

• Tree lights should not be left on when you’re not around, since your pets may tangle themselves in the cords. Unplug the tree lights when you’re not using them.

• Once you’ve decorated your tree, pick up all tinsel, ribbon and ornament hooks on the floor. These glittery items may be attractive playthings to your pets, but they can get sick if they ingest them. If a gastrointestinal blockage occurs, surgery may be needed to save your pet.

• If your pets express interest in playing with the decorations on the tree, decorate the bottom third of the tree with wood or plastic ornaments that won’t break.

• Keep all gifts that contain human food off the floor so that pets are not tempted by the smells. Human treats can be dangerous for pets – especially food containing chocolate, alcohol, raisins and onions.

• Holiday plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe can be dangerous, too, if your pets chew on them. Keep holiday plants well out of reach of your pets, or buy artificial plants

• Burning candles can also be a concern around this time of year. Put burning candles in places that are inaccessible to your pets and don’t let candles burn unattended. Your cat can easily light herself on fire by brushing up against a burning candle or start a fire by tipping the candle over.

Well-intentioned family and friends may share holiday foods with pets causing the pet to develop a stomach upset or worse, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which can be caused by eating fatty foods. To control excessive food intake by your pets and meet your guests’ desires to feed the pets, dole out the treats your pets would normally receive and let your guests “treat” the pets. If you want to get festive, mix some of your pet’s regular food with water to make a “dough” and roll out and cut into festive shapes, then bake until crunchy.

Extra attention from visiting relatives and friends may be relished by some pets while others seek solitude in their favorite hiding spot. Make sure pets are given some “personal space” if they want to get away from the commotion.

Some pets may respond to all the hullabaloo with a change in behavior including bad behaviors like eliminating in the house. Try to spend a little extra “quality time” with your pet to assure them they have not been forgotten.

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