Whatever you celebrate this season – Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa – chances are your home is transformed with decorations. The lights, the ornaments, the garland – just know that all those shiny and new decorations look like toys to your pet. You don’t need to hold back on the festive trimmings, but pet safety is something to consider during the holidays. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe while you deck the halls.
- Protecting Sparky from Sparks. Keep wires and cords out of paws reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.
- O Christmas tree. Your cat will think Christmas came early as soon as your Christmas tree is up, so how do you keep them off the impossible-to-resist tree of their dreams? Consider an artificial tree, as cats tend to find them less appealing. Choose a corner location or put the tree in a room your cat rarely visits. Be sure to get a sturdy tree stand and anchor the tree securely so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing injury to your cat. Also, consider getting kitty an early Christmas gift – a new cat condo or scratcher so she will be less tempted.
- I love my new water bowl. Do not add any chemicals, aspirin or sugar to the water for your tree, which may poison or cause upset stomachs in your pet. Also, keep the water fresh to avoid stagnation and the release of bacteria.
- All that glitters. Pets love tinsel and shiny, light-catching decorations. They might also decide that they look delicious. Don’t spend Christmas Eve in your vet’s emergency room. Keep a close eye on Fido and make sure he has plenty of new and interesting chew toys. Avoid glass ornaments, and keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from salt-dough or other food-based materials, out of pets’ reach.
- Like paws to a flame. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; consider using flameless candles instead. Pets can easily burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Use appropriate candle holders place on a stable surface.
- Plant danger. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, balsam, pine and cedar are all holiday staples, but they can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by your pet. Also, many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Consider using boughs of just-as-jolly artificial plants.
The bottom line – be aware of all the new, tempting decorations in your house and keep a sharp eye on your fur babies, and everyone if your house can enjoy a safe, festive holiday!