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Tips For A Pet-Safe Holiday

The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to in- clude their furry companions in the festivities. It is essential to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants, and dangerous decorations. Here are some suggestions from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Be Careful With Seasonal Plants & Decor
Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree, so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea.

Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Elect to go with just-as-jolly artificial plants.

Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly-catching toy that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. A nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery.

That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders. If you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. At the same time, shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

Skip The Sweets: By now, you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which a pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and garbage cans.

Leave The Leftovers: Fatty, spicy, and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

Careful With Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure not to leave your drink unattended. If ingested, your pet could become weak and ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in respiratory failure death.

Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with indestructible chew toys, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods, or chew treats
that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but cats’ riskiest toys involve ribbon, yarn, and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery.

Plan A Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free.

Put The Meds Away: Make sure all your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

A Room Of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle.

New Year’s Noise: Please keep in mind that strings of confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines if ingested. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. Remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Have a safe and joyful holiday season, and as always, adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the HHS, Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or