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Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

A local pet expert shares her tips on keeping your furry friends safe during the holiday season.

With the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, there are many things to consider in order to keeping your pets healthy, safe, and happy.

Alcoholic beverages: Drunken dogs or cats are very sick animals. An ounce of a beverage that is 20 to 40 proof can cause alcohol poisoning or coma in a small dog.

Angel hair: This is made from spun glass. It can irritate the skin, cause cuts, and damage the eyes. If eaten, it can cause intestinal blockage. Tinsel can also be ingested with the same results.

Artificial Snow/Flocking: These are possibly poisonous, can cause digestive upset or be a respiratory irritant if inhaled. Spray only the upper corners of high windows.

Candles: Flame or dripping wax can burn dogs or singe their whiskers or hair. Also, they are a fire hazard if the dog knocks them over. Save candles for the dining room table.

Christmas trees: Place your tree away from a normal traffic pattern. Tie the top of the tree with the fishing line and then secure this to the ceiling. By using this system the tree cannot fall over. Use non breakable ornaments on the lower section of the tree. Don’t leave a gift containing food under the tree.

Costumes and dressing up: If you like to 'dress up' your dog for the holidays, beware of anything which might cause strangulation or choking. Also be sure to introduce your dog to people in costumes. Let Trick or Treaters or Santa say hello and give your dog some treats.

Electric cable: Dogs and cats can be shocked, burned or electrocuted by chewing on cable. It is safer to run cables through PVC piping.

Decorations: Glue, rubber bands, staples, string, tacks and tape can cause mild pain, serious complications, or death if swallowed. Store them in a secure place. Discard used items when decorations are removed.

Decorative lights: Pets can become tangled in the strands, leading to burns and cuts. They can create the same hazards as electric cables.

Fire/fireplaces, including ashes, popping wood: These can cause bronchial irritation, burns, skin irritation and digestive distress. Keep a fire screen in front of a fireplace while in use.

Food: Bones can cause choking, internal punctures, possibly death. Chocolate can cause Theo bromine poisoning, which is an over stimulation of the nervous system, and may be fatal. Chocolate also causes vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. Fatty, spicy, or sweet foods lead to gastric upset, dehydration and pancreatitis. Burns and mouth or throat ulcerations can result from hot food. Do not share your holiday goodies with your dog. If you can resist give a healthy treat. Do not leave cooking food unattended or set hot dishes near edge of stove or counter. Do not leave sweets or other snacks where your dog can reach them.

Gift wrapping: Ribbon, trim polystyrene foam packaging, wrapping foil and paper are dangerous if eaten by your dog. Always wrap packages in an area away from your dog. Collect and discard all the waste. Put away any wrapping paper and supplies you are not using. If you have any gifts for your dog, use plain brown paper, wrap loosely and supervise unwrapping.

Guests: Guests are more likely to feed your dog and “'just a little bite” adds up to quite a lot of food. Always advise your guests not to feed your dog. Guests are also more likely to accidentally let your dog out an opened door.

Plants: Holiday plants, such as holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia, range from mildly upsetting to extremely toxic. If eaten they can cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, coma, central nervous system or cardiac problems, or even death.

Remember your dog’s crate. It is a safe place for a dog to be when you are too busy to supervise your dog’s activities.

With a little bit of planning you and your dog can have a safe and happy holiday season.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Deloree Burd October 25, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Great Article by a Great Animal Lover!!! I will post this at Sophie's Touch!!!

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