Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Safety Tips for Pets

With Christmas just a short 2-1/2 weeks away, we ask that you please keep your pets in mind.

Pets do not understand the holidays we celebrate. They do understand our behavior changes, more people coming and going changes in their living areas with new shiny decorations they may see as toys or something really cool to taste. Food left out from candies, sweets and big meals to decorations, packages and wrappings, as well as plants such as poinsettias. These items and more can cause serious harm to your pets.

Remember MOST plants are poisonous to pets.
Here is the number for pet poison control: 800-213-6680
They also have a smartphone app Pet Poison Helpline
Here is a link to their website:

The app is great. I downloaded it today. On Apple's App Store, it costs $1.99. It seems to be worth it. It has a list of items that are poisonous in alphabetical order with an alphabet list on the right side for easy alpha access. You can also do a search by poison. It has instructions on what to do, as well as a "call now" button to the poison center. When you select a poison, it will bring you to a screen with info on it. It will tell you which animals it affects by word & silhouette. It gives symptoms & descriptions. It also provides a photo of the poison. This is helpful when dealing with plants, foods and medications.

Items that your pet may come into contact with that can cause health concerns for pets:
Turkey bones
Glass ornaments
Christmas trees
Snow globes
ALL electrical decorations
Opening/closing doors
much, much more…

Remember, your guests are NOT responsible for YOUR pets!

Pets should be kept in a closed off, quiet room far from the activity for peace and safety. If pets are allowed to mingle with guests, be sure someone is in charge of keeping all doors that lead to the outdoors closed. Fearful pets will run outside. Make sure pets have ID tags in case the worse case scenario happens.

Remind your guests NOT to feed your pets. Guests may not know pets can not have certain foods or maybe a pet is on a specific diet due to health such as diabetes. They may not know which foods are poisonous. best to just ask them not to feed the pets. At the very least, it creates bad manners in the pets and promotes begging.

Cats have been known to try to climb Christmas trees and topple them. Trees with glass ornaments can cause potential damage by pets walking on or swallowing broken pieces. Dogs, and some cats that still spray, may urinate on real trees. With electrical lights on trees, this can cause a serious electrical concern. Cats are attracted to the sparkling allure of tinsel & garland. They will try to chew on or eat them causing obstruction. Like string, tinsel can cause many hazards in the gastrointestinal tract. Pets may also try to drink the water for a real Christmas tree, as well as chew on or eat the needles which can puncture their insides. If you opt for a real tree, be sure the area around the tree is kept clean from fallen needles.

Cats sometimes do not make distinction between potted plants and litter boxes. Many plants, such as Poinsettia, Holly & Mistletoe, are poisonous to pets. Please keep these plants out of the reach of pets.

A little known fact is snow globes oftentimes contain antifreeze, which is deadly to pets.

Candles, obviously, should not be left unattended when pets are around. Cats have been known to curiously knock down burning candles. Dogs can easily brush against a table knocking down burning candles either by rattling the furniture or with a wagging tail.

If you are going to be away, please remember to make plans for your pets. If you are taking them with you, make sure your pet will be welcome and observe house rules & etiquette of your host. You and your pet are their guest. Clean up after your pet & keep your pet under control. Do not allow your pet to run through their home or be destructive. Be prepared to clean the backyard of potty places. If you leave your pets at home for a short amount of time, a couple hours, be sure they have fresh water and cannot be injured or become ill feasting on your decorations or food. If you leave your pets for an extended amount of time, many hours or days, be prepared to have a sitter over, family/friend check on them or board them. In any case, make sure professionals (boarding places & sitters) are licensed and bonded for safety and insurance purposes. Make sure you leave explicit instructions with anyone who is caring for your pet. If the pet is on medication, has certain dietary concerns, etc., be sure those caring for your pet are fully aware of all your concerns and put it in writing. Go over it with them. Be sure to provide medications, if necessary.

And, of course, remember pets are NOT gifts. If you are considering giving a pet as a gift, be sure the recipient wants a pet and is capable of caring for the pet. Speak with the recipient & include them in the adoption process. Gift certificates fro pets or pet supplies is a better find under the tree than an unexpected box full of a live, breathing, furry pet.

Obviously, there is so much more to consider, but these are just some pointers and reminders.

Keep your pets in mind this Christmas season; so, everyone on 2 legs and 4 can enjoy this happy, joyful season.

Please share with your family & friends.