A Merry Christmas is a Safe Christmas for Your Pets

Christmas is right around the corner. Soon we’ll be decorating the house and planning our dinner menus. But, all too often this merry season turns tragic when our holiday trappings collide with the family pet. Take a few minutes to review some basic Christmas safety tips. You can enter the holiday with peace of mind with just a few preventive efforts.

● Christmas Tree Safety

We all love our Christmas trees. We dress them up with bright, shining ornaments, sparkling tinsel and keep them watered to keep them looking attractive. Unfortunately, all of these things are also attractive to our dogs, cats and other family pets.

The best advice for Christmas tree safety is to set up your display where your pet can’t access it – perhaps in a room where you can close the door when you’re not around. If that’s not possible, here are three safety suggestions for setting up your tree.

1. Hang ornaments high or securely nestled in the branches so they don’t dangle and invite your pet to pluck them off the tree.

2. Don’t use tinsel on your tree. Even small amounts of air flow in your home create movement with tinsel – which is very attractive to your pets. Ingested tinsel can cause irreparable damage or even death.

3. If you have a live tree in a water stand, make sure you skirt the tree tightly so your pet can’t get to the water. Chemically treated water may help your tree to last longer, but it can be deadly to your beloved animals. Fowl, standing water can also make them sick.

● Christmas Light Hazards

Christmas lights are part of the Christmas experience. However, hanging wires can be dangerous in a number of ways. First, your pets can be injured by chewing on the cords. Second, a wire that has been chewed and undetected can be a fire hazard. Whenever possible, keep cords high and out of reach from your pets. You can also use wide masking tape to secure wires to the floors or walls to make them less accessible.

● Decorating Dangers

Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are all popular plants used for Christmas decorating. Unfortunately, they are poisonous to your pets. Keep them up high to enjoy them safely.

● Edible Accidents

Holiday entertaining usually means an over abundance of food items in the house. Here are three things to keep in mind to avoid edible accidents.

1. Refrain from over-feeding your pets during the holidays. Rich foods like gravies can cause upset stomachs and major bouts of diarrhea in most animals, which is something you or your pet won’t enjoy.

2. Don’t feed your animals boney scraps from your meal. Bones can splinter or lodge in their throats causing trauma or suffocation.

3. Keep candy, sweets and especially chocolate out of reach from your animals. Many are toxic to your pet. If they ingest these items and exhibit lethargic or unusual behavior, call an emergency vet or poison control hotline for help.

Christmas should be a time of joy. With a little diligence and knowledge, you and your pets can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

Enjoy more pet articles from Terry Mulligan:

6 Ridiculous Pet Products You Don’t Need
How to Create Traffic-Friendly Feeding Stations for Your Pets
What to Do If Your Dog is Eating Your Cat’s Food

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