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Holiday Hazards for Pets

by Renee Jones-Lewis, CPDT-KA

As the holidays approach, the safety of our four-legged friends and family should be a priority.

While you are decorating your home with trees, ornaments and lights and stocking up on special holiday treats, keep in mind that these activities could bring about holiday hazards for your pets. Here are some things to be aware of...

The Tree
If you have a live tree, keep the water stand covered. Pine sap mixed with water makes a poisonous drink for your pets. The smell of a live or artificial tree may cause your pet to urine mark it. It may also help to bring the tree into an isolated indoor room for a day or so, so that it smells more like "home." Secure trees to a wall or ceiling hook with sturdy fishing line. This will help prevent the tree from toppling over should your pet jump on it or accidentally knock it over.
- Check out a new product that might help: the Curved Scat Mat.

The Decorations
Pick up any ornament hooks, tinsel or ribbon that fall on the floor. Your pet could experience serious internal injuries if it ingests any of these items. If you have indoor holiday lights, be sure they don't hang so low that your pet could become entangled in them. Remember to unplug the lights when you're not home and supervise your pet.

The Food
Keep holiday treats and candies out of your pet's reach. Remember wrapped gifts under your tree that may be food items. Certain foods, especially in excess, can make your pet sick. Chocolate, onions, raisins and alcohol can be fatal to dogs.

The Plants
Greens such as balsam and pine, while not strictly toxic, also can cause minor irritation for munching pets. Poinsettias, mistletoe berries and some other plants and popular holiday flowers can cause serious stomach upset for pets.

The Noise
Provide a quiet refuge for your pet. With all the holiday festivities, your pet will need a "time out" from visiting family and friends. A comfortable crate is one solution, or a room with a "Do Not Disturb" sign is another. Give your pet time and space to settle down or take a nap.
- Check out some calming products for pets.

Please keep in mind that one of the busiest and most crowded times of the year in animal shelters is after the holidays as unwanted pets fill the shelters. Before giving a pet, make absolutely sure the recipient wants a pet, and what kind of pet they prefer. Better yet, give a certificate that says you will help them find the pet of their dreams. Not only will you be certain they are getting a pet they want and are ready for, but you will also be giving the gift of your time and company.

Happy Holidays!

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