A Christmas tree twinkling with lights, rooms glowing with candles, halls decked with wreaths and ivy all may bring the holiday spirit to your home. But the holiday hazards to your pets are aplenty during this Christmas season. As a responsible pet owner, it is up to you to make sure that your holiday celebrations are safe for your pet. From decorations to gifts and treats, these tips can help you have a safe holiday for you and your pets.
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Whether you choose to put up a majestic pine or easily managed artificial tree, Christmas trees hold many temptations and hazards to pets. The American Humane Association recommends the following tips for keeping your pet safe from these risks.
- Anchor your tree securely. Climbing cats and excited dogs can easily knock over unstable trees.
- Keep breakable, glass and food decorations up higher where pets cannot reach them.
- Avoid using tinsel or keep it up high. It can block your pets intestines leading to surgery, or even death for both cats and dogs.
- Clean up live pine needles often, they are toxic if ingested.
- Don’t allow your pet to drink the water from the tree stand; it is toxic.
- Put gifts under the tree at the last minute. Leaving them there for long periods of time is too tempting for pets to resist and the wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift contents all can harm your pet.
Photo by L.m.k via Wikimedia Commons
From food, to plants, to potpourri, the smells and treats are a wonderful part of celebrating Christmas. However, those same enjoyments may mean serious problems for your pet. Be aware of some of the most common toxic substances to your pets, according to the Pet Poison Helpline:
- Chocolate contains theobromine, a highly toxic chemical to both cats and dogs.
- Foods with grapes, raisins and currants can result in kidney failure for dogs.
- Sugarless gums and candies that contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
- Imported snow globes have been found to contain antifreeze in them.
- Holiday plants, including poinsettia, lilies, holly and mistletoe are all dangerous to both cats and dogs.
- Candles and fragrant oils, which often smell like food, are dangerous if ingested by pets.
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There are many increased risks during the holiday seasons, from a higher chance of break-ins, higher fire risks in the home and an increased chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protecting you and your pets in your home from the hazards is easy to do with DIY home security. Today’s technology enables home owners to install wireless systems themselves. Recommended steps from the experts include:
- Installing and testing carbon monoxide detectors.
- Checking smoke detectors are operational.
- Installing motion sensor lights.
- Installing alarms or closed-circuit video surveillance.
- Avoiding advertising that your house will be empty.
- Not putting boxes outside your house from expensive gifts.
The holidays don’t have to be a stressful time for you or your pet. Taking steps to avoid problems before they happen can ensure that you and your pets have a safe and happy holiday season.