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Pets And The Holidays

The holidays are a busy time with lots of food, decorations, and festivities. Naturally, we want our family pets to be a part of it. After all, they are a part of the family, right? While our intentions may be good, including your pet in all of the fun of the holidays may not be what's best for them. In fact, some things can be down right dangerous. In order to make sure our pets stay safe and happy during the holiday season there are a few tips every good pet owner should follow.

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

1. 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.

2. Secure the tree to a wall or the ceiling with fishing line and a hook to prevent pets
from knocking it over. Eventually, I broke down and bought a hanging wall tree so that it
would stay out of reach of my pets. My cats seemed to think it was there for climbing and sharpening their claws.
 
3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Segregate animals during parties. Loud gatherings make some pets skittish, so consider
designating a room for your cat or dog. Stick a “do not disturb” note on the door. Put your pet’s food,
water and litter box (if you have a cat) inside. Turn on a radio or TV to drown out noise.

10. Be careful with costumes. Sure, pets look adorable in a Santa suit or elf outfit,
but putting one on your dog or cat may stress it out. If you do play dress up, check that the
costume fits properly and doesn’t restrict your pet’s ability to move or breathe. Also be
sure there are no strings or pieces on the costume that could come off and become a choking hazard. Pets in costume
should not be left unsupervised. 

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and celebration. No one wants to spend their holidays in a veterinary clinic. Keeping these tips in mind will help make sure that the holidays are enjoyed by all your family members.

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