Weatherford Democrat

November 7, 2008

Safety tips for the holidays

CALIFORNIA — Ahhh, the holidays…easily the busiest time of the year. But while you’re occupied with cooking and entertaining, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your pets to ensure their safety. Dinner table scraps, poinsettias, houseguests and the general hubbub of the season can sometimes prove too much for dogs and cats to handle., your pet information resource presented by the World Wide Pet Industry Association (WWPIA), is offering the below list of tips to ensure your pets remain out of harm’s way during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Food and drink safety

n Don’t feed your pet human food

Human foods such as turkey, gravy and grease are too rich for pets; feeding them these types of foods can cause health problems. Feed your pet before a holiday party so he will be less likely to beg or steal food.

n Never let your pet drink alcohol or coffee

Alcohol can cause serious intoxication in animals. Clean up glasses after holiday parties to prevent accidental ingestion.

n Bones are a bad idea

Do not feed your pet bones from your holiday cooking. Poultry bones tend to split easily and can cause severe pain and punctures if swallowed.

n Be aware of the trash

To make sure your pet doesn’t get into any potentially harmful food, put all food away immediately after consuming. The garbage contains all kinds of hazardous material, so be sure to pet-proof your trash bin.

Visitor safety

n Pets feel stress

Holiday guests and activity can be very stressful and frightening to pets. Make sure your pet has a safe place to retreat to inside the house when there are visitors. Also, keep feeding and exercise on a regular maintained schedule.

n Easy escape

Make sure that when guests are visiting your home they are careful not to let your pet escape out the front door. Put a sign on the door to remind guests who might not remember to keep the family pet inside. Make sure your pet has proper identification and always keep him on a leash when out and about.

Decoration safety

n Poisonous holiday plants

While certain plants may make your home look festive for the holidays, many of these plants are very poisonous to pets. Keep ivy, holly and poinsettia plants out of reach.

n Fire hazard

Never leave lit candles unattended, as pets can easily knock them over and cause a fire or burn themselves.

n Gift wrap

Keep wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, string and scissors away from pets. Resist the temptation to tie a ribbon around your dog’s or cat’s neck. This may look cute, but can potentially be very dangerous.

Christmas tree safety

n O Christmas tree

Place the Christmas tree in a stable stand to keep it from moving or falling on your pet.

n Tree decorations

Hang all fragile and treasured ornaments higher up on the tree to avoid breakage and possible consumption. Ingestion of glass ornaments can be fatal. Christmas lights and fixtures should be taped down and cords should be covered to avoid shocks and burns to curious pets.

n Edible ornaments

Decorating the tree with food such as candy canes, gingerbread men or popcorn can be pretty but also very dangerous if a pet decides to eat some of it.