celebrate the season, it's important to keep your
companion animals safe and stress-free. Here are some
1) Be careful with holiday decorations. Common yuletide
plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy and holly
berries can be poisonous, possibly even fatal. Tree
adornments and Christmas and Hanukkah candles can cause
choking or severe intestinal problems if swallowed.
Exposed wiring can electrocute a curious animal who chews
on it. Dogs and cats can be allowed to romp through
discarded wrapping paper and empty boxes, but be sure to
dispose of all bows, yarn and curling ribbons.
2) Crowds of people and holiday festivities can frighten
animals. If you plan to entertain, you must plan ahead on
your pets' behalf. Make sure they have a "safe
haven" where they can retreat. If you are a cat
owner, note that a disruption such as the rearrangement
of furniture around the house for the holidays may cause
your feline to stop using the litter box.
3) Pets are not garbage disposals for holiday left-overs.
Do not stuff an animal. Poultry bones can splinter and
cause blockages, chocolates are poisonous, and any sudden
change of diet, even for just one meal, can give your dog
or cat stomach pain and diarrhea. This is particularly
true for older animals, whose digestive systems are often
more delicate and nutritional requirements more strict.
Aluminum foil that has been wrapped around
meat and disposable baking pans might be attractive to a
pet, but do not let your companion near these --
ingestion of aluminum foil may cause vomiting, intestinal
blockage or even more serious problems.
4) A Christmas tree should stand in a flat, wide base.
You might also want to anchor the tree with fishing line
tied to drapery rods or the wall. Cats often see trees as
fabulous climbing posts. If your feline shows a penchant
for this activity, decorate with animal-safe items such
as dried flowers, pine cones or fabric and wood
ornaments. You also might want to consider putting the
tree in a room with doors that close. Tinsel and popcorn
strands can be deadly to pets, and glass balls can
shatter in an animal's mouth.
5) Please remember that the changes and activity over the
holidays can cause an animal stress and anxiety.
By taking proper precautions, you can help your pet enjoy
the holiday season.
American Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals
please direct inquiries to:
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