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Holiday Safety for Pets

Dog and turkey

The holidays are upon us and with them come the hustle and bustle of visitors, lots of tempting treats and potential overindulgences, but did you know that there are also many hazards for your pets?

Holiday stress doesn’t just affect humans – your pets may also feel stressed out by the increased activity and visitors. Make sure they have access to a quiet spot where they can go hide out (you may want to reserve a spot there, too).

Holiday ornaments – they’re bright, shiny and to cats and dogs, they may look like toys. Keep decorations out of reach of little hands and paws.

Tinsel & Ribbon – these are almost irresistible, and a huge hazard if they’re ingested. Avoid the vet bill and keep these off the décor list.

Electrical cords – with extra lights come extra cords, and some animals just can’t resist chewing them. Keep them safely tucked away or taped down.

Christmas trees – cats may see a Christmas tree as a wonderful playground you’ve installed just for them so keep ornaments off the lower branches and discourage climbing. Make sure the tree is secure and not easily overturned. If you have a live tree, watch that your animals don’t try to drink water from the tree stand.

Contrary to popular belief poinsettas are only mildly toxic; however lilies, holly and mistletoe are deadly, especially for cats.

Alcohol – watch that Fluffy and Fido don’t get stuck into the punchbowl or eggnog. Leeks, onions, sage and other herbs, gravy, turkey skin, cooked bones, grapes, raisins and currants are all very bad for animals. Rich baked goods and chocolates (especially those made with artificial sweeteners like xylitol) are also hazards. Keep these stored in tins whenever possible or covered if they’re kept out on display.

We always recommend an appropriate diet for your pet, as advised by your veterinarian. However, we know that temptation (and unattended plates) happen during the holiday season!  So, here are some general notes:  Mashed pumpkin is a wonderful, nutritious treat but make sure it’s real pumpkin and not pie filling. Yams are also excellent. Green beans – say yes to fresh, but leave the casserole for humans. Mashed potatoes are fine to share, but make sure they’re plain, with no butter or gravy. Small servings of turkey are fine, but opt for white meat over dark and no skin or bones please.

Keep these numbers handy and Happy holidays!

Pet Poison Helpline 800-213-6680
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 888-426-4435

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