Friday, December 5, 2008

Make the Holidays Safe for Pets

By Dr. Jane Bicks in Healthy Pet Newsletter

By following some simple tips, you can ensure a trouble-free holiday season for you and your pets.

There are some things from which you should shield your pets during the festive months.

Some common holiday plants are toxic to cats and dogs. Don’t keep holly, poinsettias, lilies or mistletoe on or near the floor, where pets have easy access to them.

If you have a live tree in your home, don’t let pine needles accumulate on the floor, as these needles can perforate the intestinal lining of dogs and cats. Additionally, trees should be tethered to a wall or the ceiling to prevent them from falling on pets.

Don’t leave unfamiliar extension cords fully exposed, as these can resemble chew toys, which could result in serious injury to your dog. Never leave lights plugged in when you are not at home.

Don’t allow your companion animals to drink holiday tree water, as it quickly becomes stagnant and can contain harmful chemicals or bacteria. Consider putting up a wire fence to restrict access to tree water, and to gifts (aka, tempting chewing targets).

If you are decorating with tinsel, hang it out of reach of your pets, especially cats, as they are known to eat tinsel, which can result in intestinal distress.

And here are some suggestions for things you should consider doing as the year wraps up.

Do your gift wrapping on an elevated surface, where your pets can’t get into (and consequently eat) string, paper and ribbons that can cause intestinal blockages.

This is a good time of the year to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. This helps to ensure the safety of the home and also avoids alarming your companion animals, as low batteries will often set off alerts that can scare your pets.

Encourage your holiday guests to refrain from feeding your companion animals human food, as this can result in diarrhea, vomiting and illness.

During the stress of the holidays, companion animals may drink more water, so be extra alert to providing this basic necessity.

Post your vet’s phone number in a prominent location, like your refrigerator. This provides easy access to necessary information for anyone visiting your home, should a problem arise.

Source: Healthy Pet Newsletter - Free Subscriptions.

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