The holidays have arrived! For those with one or more four-legged friends in the house, it’s time to go over some safety tips. After all, you want all of your family members to enjoy the festivities even the furry ones.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, takes calls year round about pets being exposed to potentially hazardous yet common household items. With the house filled with guests, presents and decorations during the holidays, the risks multiply.
Here are some things to remember and consider from Thanksgiving through New Year’s to help keep Fluffy or Fido healthy, happy and safe:
Make sure everyone keeps medicine bottles or pill cases safely tucked away actually that applies to everyone in your household, both permanent residents and visitors. And, just in case a probing pet gets into some medications, always make sure the containers are labeled with the contents and potency so you know what was ingested.
Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without sharing in feasts and treats with family and friends. Just make sure that doesn’t extend to your pets. After all, some things on the holiday dinner table, such as alcohol and chocolate, are toxic for pets.
And, because all of the seasonal commotion may become too much for your pets, be sure they have a quiet place to which they can retreat. Let others know your pets shouldn’t be disturbed when they are in their quiet spot, whether it’s a bed, a cozy blanket or a kennel.
Those beautifully wrapped presents under the tree or covering the fireplace mantel can also be harmful to your oh-so-curious felines and canines especially if a present contains treats for them or food for humans. Animals have a keen sense of smell and, once they sense that food is nearby, they’ll be more than happy to unwrap and eat both the outer and inner contents of the gift. Those ribbons and bows that you worked so hard on perfecting may end up wreaking havoc on your pet’s digestive tract.
Besides the obvious precautions of making sure wires, batteries and poisonous/toxic plants (such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias) are all out of paw’s reach, make sure that plastic and glass ornaments are far away as well. If chewed or eaten, these items can cause electrical shock, acid burns, dermatitis and mouth abrasions.
You should also remember that, as beautiful and fun as they are, snow globes contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to all pets. Another substance that you may not think of as harmful to pets is salt, and homemade play dough is loaded with it. Watch pets while your children are playing with it or around ornaments made with it. The dough can cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.
Scented candles may also be a holiday staple, but they may be enticing to our pets, which are at risk for serious burns and other injuries. Best to keep those candles completely out of reach.
Finally, make sure you have the phone number for your local emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA hotline on hand for emergencies.
With these tips in mind, you can help keep your four-legged family member safe during the holidays and all year round.