Keeping furry family members safe during the holidays

By Panhandle Animal Shelter
Reader Contributors

The December and January holidays are coming up fast! Celebrating with family and friends can be so enjoyable. But remember that some family members, the ones with fur and tails, need some measures taken to keep them healthy and safe during this joyful but hectic time of year. Here are some things to keep in mind so that the holidays will be a happy time for your pet and you, too.

Awkward family photos.

Timber! A Christmas tree not securely anchored could cause an injury to the pet that had a paw in knocking it over. Plus, make sure that pets don’t have access to the tree water which can contain things that will make your pet ill, like bacteria and chemicals. Preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers and other agents, such as aspirin, are commonly used in the tree water to keep the tree fresh. These may have harmful consequences for cats and dogs that drink the water.

Make it a Tinsel-less tree. Kitties love this sparkly “toy” that’s fun swat at, but nibbling can lead to swallowing, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to use something other than tinsel on your tree.

Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach of pets. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. Shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. So if you leave the room, put the candles out.

Avoid mistletoe and holly. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Poinsettias are considered mildly toxic as compared to mistletoe and holly. And many varieties of lilies can cause severe illness in cats if ingested. Opt for artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Over recent years, the number and types of products that contain xylitol have greatly increased. Some of the products are baked goods. While this low-calorie substitute may be good for humans, it can cause serious illness when it comes to our pets. Being aware of whether xylitol is in any of the products you buy or are thinking of buying will help to keep your pets safe.

The winter holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy family and friends. But with all the extra hustle and bustle don’t forget to do some pet-proofing measures so that all of your family will enjoy the holidays and good memories will be made.

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