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Seven Steps To A Pet Safe Holiday

28 12:14:06
The upcoming holidays can be a joyous time for your family, but they can be stressful and even dangerous for your dogs and cats. Changes in routine, the introduction of new objects like Christmas trees, unfamiliar people, and being left alone can upset any pet. The holidays may introduce new hazards you might not have considered.

While not exhaustive, here are seven things you can do this holiday season to help keep your pet safe.

1. The holidays are typically a time when - let's face it - we over indulge in rich food. While your pet may go crazy over the roast turkey, avoid the temptation to give your pet more than just a taste. Table scraps are out, too. Your pet may love it, but too much rich, unfamiliar food (no chocolate!) will sicken your pet and leave an awful mess for you to clean up.

Of course you know not to give your pet turkey or chicken bones. Bird bones are hollow and can splinter easily, causing a pet to choke.

2. Make sure your Christmas tree is well secured and that wiring is arranged so that you pet cannot become tangled in it. Years ago, our German Shepard became entangled in Christmas tree lights and pulled the tree over on top of himself. The startled dog then charged through the house, Christmas tree in tow. Luckily, he was not injured, but a number of ornaments were broken.

As much as possible, "pet proof" your tree by avoiding tinsel and garlands (choking hazard), breakable ornaments, and edible ornaments such as popcorn.

Lighted candles and oil lamps must be placed where it is impossible for pets to knock them over. Such an accident can not only be harmful to your pet, but it could burn your house down.

3. Having guests over is one of the joys of the holidays. To help make the event fun for everyone - your pet included - consider putting your pet in your fenced back yard, a basement or other room. While your pet may be well behaved around you, extra people, noise, and boisterous children will make things stressful for you, your pet, and your guests.

If your dog will be in the house, make sure your guests close doors behind them to avoid any unpleasant encounters.

4. If you will be going away for the holidays and leaving your pets at home you will need to arrange for a trusted neighbor or professional pet sitter to take care of them. Keeping your pets at home in their own, familiar environment is far better than placing them in a kennel. Cheaper, too.

Plan for your sitter well in advance. If you're using a new pet sitting service, be sure to check references. Make certain you have provided the sitter a check list and that they understand it thoroughly. The check list must cover such items as food, water, and walking/exercise instructions; emergency instructions, phone numbers, and location of nearest/favorite vet or pet hospital.

Consider mail pick up and home light settings as well for security reasons. And make sure the sitter can get in touch with you.

5. Some plants, including holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, and lilies are poisonous to animals. If you want to use these decorations, place them well out of reach of curious noses.

6. If other people bring gifts for your pet, inspect the gift first to be sure it is appropriate and safe. Especially beware of small toys or parts of toys that could choke your pet or cause other injury.

7. Finally, much of the country experiences cold weather during the holidays. Don't let the festivities of the season distract you from protecting your outdoor pet from the cold. In other words, make sure your pet is "accounted for," warm, cozy, or inside before you have that second glass of bubbly.

Keeping your pet safe during the holidays is simply using the same common sense you use the rest of the year. With a little thought and planning, you, your pet, and your guests can have a safe and happy holiday.