Pet Safety at Christmas

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					Pet Safety at Christmas

   1.   CANDY AND CHOCOLATE: Foil wraps on candies can cause internal injuries if
        swallowed - the foil can act like a razor as it is swallowed and ingested. Also,
        chocolate can be toxic to pets. Keep all candies and their wrappers in a secure
        place. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a pet won’t find chocolate or other
        goodies under the Christmas tree. Many pets have ripped wrapping paper and
        plastic wrap to get to these treats!
   2.   "PEOPLE FOOD": Other holiday treats can be harmful to pets, including:
            o Alcoholic beverages.
            o Bones. Poultry bones, especiall y, splinter easily - each year thousands of
                pets are treated for consumption of splintered bones, causing pain and
                sometimes death.
            o Food scraps and meat drippings. Though it is so tempting, it is not a good
                idea to give your pet large quantities of cooked turkey and ham, or other
                types of scraps during the holidays. Human food is rich, and overfeeding
                of human food can cause health problems, as well as leading to begging
                and unsatisfactory eating habits when given pet food at their regular
                mealtimes. It is best to keep your pet on its regular diet and caution visitors
                against giving "special treats" to your pet.
            o Pets' highly sensitive noses pick up scents before humans. Therefore, do
                not be surprised when Fluffy and Fido are underfoot in the kitchen while
                holiday goodies are being prepared. Watch those hot containers filled
                with turkey and ham drippings. The pets can easily tip them over, and end
                up with severe scalding and burns.
            o Think like an animal. Once you have put up all your decorations and
                hung the lights, take some time to think like your pet. Get down on his or
                her level, and look at the tree from that perspective. The colorful lights
                may be irresistible to a curious pet, and the new smells and strange shiny
                objects might appeal to it as well.
            o Brace your tree and tree stand as securel y as possible. Larger animals
                have a tendency to pull things towards them for inspection, and a
                Christmas tree is one large inspection m agnet! Besides the obvious
                aggravations of having to redecorate a fallen tree, the tree itself can
                maim or kill a pet. Have at least two separate systems working to hold up
                your tree, such as a sturdy tree stand and wires hooked to the wall.
            o The water surrounding the base of a live tree is a notorious attractant, so
                discourage your pet from drinking from it through the use of commercial
                deterrents, such as bitter apple spray.
            o Tinsel may look pretty, but it may also look like food to an unsuspecting
                pet. Loose tinsel around a Christmas tree is a temptation for cats, so make
                an effort to keep the area clean and tinsel-free.
            o Mak e sure your electric lights and ornaments are grounded properl y.
                Many pets have a natural instinct to chew wiring, so an improperly
                grounded wire will not protect them from electrocution. Plug your wiring
                into an approved circuit-breaking power strip or a grounded (three
                pronged) wall socket. If you cannot keep the wires above pet level, then
                at least do your best to bury them deepl y into the branches of the tree.
            o Broken ornaments and lights are an invitation to injury. Glass decorations
                are very thin, and leave a large pile of razor-sharp pieces when they
                shatter. People may have enough sense to walk around the debris, but
             pets sometimes get 'tunnel-vision' when they are on a quest. Make sure
             you gather up ALL the broken pieces of a glass ornament, then vacuum
             the area thoroughly. Pets have very sensitive footpads, and a shard of
             glass imbedded in a pet's paw can become infected quickl y.
         o Do not leave candles unattended. Pets are attracted to bright lights in a
             darkened room. Not only could they be burned, but also they could
             knock the candles over, spilling hot wax onto furniture and carpeting or
             starting a fire.
         o All other decorations should be carefully placed so that pets cannot pull
             or scratch off any small pieces to swallow. Hang your treasured ornaments
             higher on the Christmas tree. Use wooden, metal, resin-cast or the like on
             the lower branches in case curious little paws want to play with bright and
             colorful ornaments.
         o If tinsel is ingested, intestinal obstruction and choking are potential
             problems. It’s best to avoid tinsel and garland altogether.
         o Never use “angel hair” (spun glass) decorations- they are toxic and can
             cause irritation of the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Inhalation of
             artificial snow and snow flock can also be dangerous.
         o Gift ribbons and bows can often provoke interest in a curious pet. Keep
             them out of sight to prevent chewing and swallowing.
         o Replace metal ornament hooks with tightly knotted fabric, wide ribbons,
             light-weight twine or yarn to slip easily over the branches of the tree.
         o Fireplace colors (fire salts) can be breathtaking on a cold winter's
             evening, but these are moderatel y toxic to pets.
         o Cover or tack down electrical cords.
5.   PLANTS: A number of Christmas season plants are poisonous or may cause
     sickness to pets if nibbled or eaten. Especially if your pet likes to nibble on
     greenery, keep plants completely out of your pet’s reach.
         o Increased activity and number of visitors during the winter holiday season
             can upset your pet's routine. Try to keep your pet on its regular schedul e
             for feeding and exercise and be sure he or she gets plent y of love.
         o Mak e sure that your pet has proper identification in case it escapes when
             guests are coming and going. A microchip is best, as tattoos can stretch
             or fade, and a collar with tags can break or slip off. If your pet has a
             microchip, make sure your contact information is up-to-date with the
             microchip company.
         o If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and
             relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact your hosts in advance to
             find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitem ent during the
             holidays, it might be best to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter.
         o Resist the temptation to tie ribbons around your pet’s neck. Your pet could
             tighten them, resulting in choking, or it could hang itself if the ribbon
             becomes caught on an object.
         o Do not give any pet of any age as a Christmas gift. Remember the first
             weeks of a new life or a sudden change in the life of an adult pet is
             extremel y traumatic for them

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