Christmas/Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets
By Emily Hoppmann
The holidays are great fun, but they also bring a host of hazards for our furry friends. Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe and sound around this holiday season.
It’s tempting to share the bounty with our animal companions, but avoid giving them the following items:
• Bones, which can become lodged in a pet’s throat , esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract
• Greasy or spicy foods, which can cause gastrointestinal upset or more serious condition called pancreatitis
• Grapes or raisins, which can cause kidney failure
• Chocolate, which is toxic to dogs
• Holiday plants, which can be toxic; holly and mistletoe are two of the most poisonous
If you think a pet may have gotten a taste of something toxic, call the ASPCA Animal Control Center at 1.888.426.4435 or The Pet Poison Helpline at 1.800.213.6680.
Ribbons, yarn and tinsel look pretty—especially to cats, who love to play with them and often swallow them. They tend to get caught in the intestinal tract, causing obstructions and perforation, which can often require emergency surgery. Be sure to keep these holiday decorations hidden away, and never leave them around after opening presents.
Christmas Tree
The main risk from the tree itself is as a fire hazard. Keep your tree well watered, and don’t keep it around too long because the level of bacteria in the water source increases daily. Other pet risks include ingestion of pine needles or tree water (which can contain fertilizer or bacteria), knocking the tree over and getting injured, glass ornaments (which can break into sharp pieces), and decorations that can be swallowed and get lodged in the intestines.
For the safety of both families and pets, follow these guidelines:
• Never light a candle near anything that could potentially catch fire, such as drapes or the Christmas tree
• Never leave a lighted candle unattended
• Don’t leave a pet alone in a room with lighted candles
• Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface, so pets can’t knock them over

The holidays are a wonderful time for us to enjoy being with our families, including the furriest members. With little care and common sense, we can keep these good times safe for all.