Holiday decorations and celebrations can be hazardous to your pets. To make sure holidays are safe and fun, please keep these tips in mind.
Guests – Advocate for your pet’s safety during the holidays for both day and overnight guests who may not be pet-familiar by informing them in advance and implementing pet safety rules, for example, about what not to feed them and behaviors that put them at risk. Pets can be overwhelmed by changes such as larger numbers of people at parties, kids, visiting animals, music and outbursts. Your guest’s medications may end up in pet accessible areas. It may be helpful to designate a secure pet room that is off-limits to guest traffic. In case of an escape, risks are reduced if pets are wearing ID tags. It is a good idea to have a current picture and your animal control officer’s number on hand.
Tree – Rambunctious pets will naturally run around or climb them. To prevent a heavy tree from toppling onto your pet it is a good idea to attach your tree securely to the wall in multiple locations and test for stability. Vacuuming the tree area frequently will eliminate pine needles, which are dangerous to the digestive system. Securely cover the tree’s water container as many precut trees are treated with additives and preservatives that can leach into the water container. The ASPCA poison control hotline phone number is: (888) 426-4435.
Decorations – Sharp and breakable ornaments can cause injury to paws and mouths. Candles can burn and scented items can irritate sensitive respiratory and olfactory systems (especially birds). Tinsel, ribbon, yarn and wire ornament hooks can be fatal if ingested. Prompt removal of gift wrapping materials from pet accessible areas helps reduce risks. It is best to know the location of the closest 24-hour veterinary service.
Cords – These attractively chewable and tasty objects are a hazard to curious kittens and puppies. Make sure that electrical cords are in good condition and out of reach.
Pets as gifts – Surprise gift pets are often later unwanted and windup at shelters and/or euthanized. Planning and recipient preparation helps avoid this risk.
Reflection on your pet’s safety – With your pet clearly in your mind and the planned holiday activities, take a look at your home from his or her perspective. Travel through your home looking at each space through your pet’s eyes. What can you reach? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What may be dangerous?
May your holidays be the best ever with your friends, family and dear pets.