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Holiday Dangers to Pets



 

Holidays can create special dangers for your pets. Each year during the various holiday seasons, thousands of pets are seriously injured and/or become deathly ill. It's a busy time ... a time of much planning, shopping, cooking and baking, rushing to and from parties and get-togethers with relatives and friends. Oftentimes we forget about our little four-legged members of the family during the rush and festivities. They are curious and anxious as we, their caretakers are and there are many hazards waiting for their curiosity.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets:

  • New Year's brings in a brand new year filled with the promise of hope, prosperity, health, and happiness. But be alert to any pet hazards such as fun noise-makers and confetti which can very easily pose a serious threat to your pets' sense of well-being and health. Noise-makers can frighten your pet causing the pet to bolt out an open door window, or leap to a percarious area in search of safety. Confetti can be ingested, wreaking havoc to the digestive tract.

  • Caution: Those adorable holiday costumes for your pets may be cute at get-togethers or in family photos, but pet owners should be wary of costumes which have rubber bands to keep them securely in place on the pet. If rubber bands are accidently left on the pet after the fun of dressing up is over, the pet could chew off and swallow them, causing choking and/or intestinal injuries. And, too, the bands can become embedded into the pet's flesh.

  • Valentine's Day is a day of romance and love, renewing old friendships and making new. Please don't forget the hidden dangers to your pets in those wonderful boxes of candy gifts and lovely bouquets of flowers your beloved one gives you.
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  • Don't leave the candies out - most animals love the sweet taste, especially chocolate. Chocolate is often fatal to animals, especially cats, if consumed in a large quanity and/or over a period of time.

  • Easter has its hazards of pets nibbling the colorful Easter "grass" used in baskets and other decorating. The goodies tucked in the baskets can create havoc to a pet's digestive system as well - chocolates, teeny Easter toys, plastic items, etc.

  • St. Patrick's Day brings the jolly Irish out in us all. Remember during your festivities, animals and alcohol DON'T mix. Alcoholic beverages are toxic to our pets.

  • July the Fourth in the United States brings picnics, backyard cookouts, family gatherings, and the sense of pride to be living in a free country with so many privileges most other countries aren't able to enjoy. But for our pets, the Fourth is also a day of terrible mishaps and even abuse related to fireworks. Please keep your pets indoors during the holiday and watch traffic at doorways. The sudden loud noises and flashing colors can cause your pet to run away in terror. A carelessly thrown firecracker or other firework could result in a disfiguring or maiming tragedy. And as old as time, there's always the evil animal abuser who gets his thrills from harming those who are smaller, weaker and totally defenseless.

  • Make sure all pets are inside during the night the youngsters are Halloween trick'r-treating, especially black pets, to avoid the heartbreak of hideous "pranks." In fact, during the entire month of October, all black pets should be kept indoors. The safest thing for both you and your animals is to keep them indoors unless you are supervising their outdoor activities with them on a leash.

  • On the night of Halloween trick'r-treating, keep your pets away from the doors leading to the outside. Place them in a secluded room away from the noise and activity of the trick'r-treaters. As you are greeting your guests, the animal could become frightened and make a rush for the door as you are handing out the treats.

  • The foil wraps on candies can cause internal injuries if swallowed - the foil can be like a razor as it is swallowed and ingested. Keep all candies and their wrappers in a secured place.

  • Other holiday treats, alcoholic beverages, rich, fatty food scraps and bones can be harmful or toxic to pets. Keep your pet on his regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet "special treats."

  • Supervise all candles - pets are attracted to the bright "lights" in a darkened room. Not only could they receive serious burns, but they could knock the candles over, spilling hot wax onto furniture and carpeting. Don't leave candles unattended for their sake and for the obvious fire hazards.

  • All other decorations should be carefully placed so that the pets can't pull or scratch off any small pieces to swallow.

  • Cover or tack down electrical cords.

  • Pets' highly sensitive noses pick up scents before humans can. Therefore, don't be surprised when Fluffy and Fido are underfoot in the kitchen while Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday goodies are being prepared. Watch those hot containers filled with turkey and ham drippings. The pets can easily tip them over causing severe scalding and burns to themselves.

  • Don't feed pets the cooled drippings either. Human seasonings aren't good for pets, plus the fact that the rich stock and drippings can easily upset pets' digestive systems.

  • Though it's so tempting, don't give your pet large quanitities of cooked turkey and ham during the holidays. Again, human food is too rich; overfeeding of human food can cause additional health problems and feeding human food will often lead to unsatisfactory eating habits when given pet food at their regular mealtimes. Consumption of human food can also result in pitiful begging, an aggravating habit hard to break, when the family sits down for meals.

  • BONES ARE DANGEROUS! Please, please don't feed your pets bones, especially poultry bones. Poultry bones splinter easily - each year thousands of pets are treated for consumption of splintered bones, causing pain and sometimes death.

  • Increased activity and visitors during the winter holiday season can upset your pet's routine. Try to keep your pet on his regular schedule for feeding and exercise and be sure the pet gets plenty of love.

  • If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact them in advance to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during the holidays, it might be best for you and your pet to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter.

  • The lovely bubbling holiday lights are moderate to lethal toxicity, depending on the amount of fluid (methylene chloride) inhaled or ingested.

  • Please do not use angelhair (spun glass) - low toxicity; can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Artifical snow and snow flock also has low toxicity - dry particles are inert; however, toxicity from inhalation can occur if spayed directly in the mouth.

  • Hang your treasured ornaments higher on the Christmas tree. Use wooden, medal, resin-cast or the like on the lower branches in case curious little paws want to play with bright and colorful ornaments. Tinsel isn't toxic, but if ingested, intestinal obstruction and choking are potential problems...please don't use.

  • The beauty of the fireplace colors (fire salts) is breath-taking on a cold winter's evening - moderate toxicity; symptoms are gastrointestinal irritation with vomiting and a variety of other manifestations, including convulsions.

  • Resist the temptation to tie ribbons around pets necks for the holidays. The pets can tighten ribbons resulting in choking or hang themselves if the ribbon is caught on an object.

  • Keep gift ribbons and bows out of sight to prevent chewing and swallowing.

  • Replace metal ornament hooks with tightly knotted fabric 1/4 inch ribbons, light-weight twine or yarn to slip easily over the branches of the tree.

  • Keep all pets securely indoors during firework displays. The frightening noise and the danger of exploding fireworks are hazardous to your pet.

  • A number of Christmas season plants are poisonous to pets if nibbled or eaten: ivy - moderate to very toxic, all parts; holly - moderate to very toxic, especially the berries and leaves; mistletoe - very toxic, all parts, especially the berries; Christmas greens such as balsam, juniper, cedar, pine and fir - all parts have a low level of toxicity; hibiscus - may cause vomiting or bloody diarrhea if ingested; and poinsettias - leaves and stems low in toxicity. This is not a conclusive listing...there are many more toxic plants. It's wise to keep plants out of your pets' and children's reach.

  • Please do not give any animal or any pet of any age as Easter and Christmas gifts. Remember the first weeks of a new life or a sudden change in an adult pet is extremely traumatic for them. Instead, give gifts of pet supplies, food, and accessories. Then after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the loved one can make a selection of the selected pet of their choice to bring home to peace and quiet for the pet. This will also provide the happy new pet owner time to spend with his/her new life-time commitment.

    For those animal lovers who have allergies or feel that a house pet would be too much due to other health reasons or too long hours and hectic schedules of secular work, give a gift of sponsorship at a no-kill shelter. There are many needy animals needing additional care. Great inexpensive gift that will warm hearts through-out the year!

    IMPORTANT: The time frame of six to eight weeks before Halloween each year is extremely dangerous for all animals, but especially so for cats ... even more frighteningly dangerous should your cat be black. Please, PLEASE take those few moments each day taking additional precautions to make sure your cat(s) or other pet(s) is/are safe during this holiday season. Follow and promote safety precautions for animals, especially black cats, during the Halloween season and throughout the year.
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