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Pet Safety for the Holidays

December 1, 2013

What pet owner doesn’t want to include their furry friend in the holiday festivities? By all means, celebrate with your pet; but follow these safety tips from a West Greenwich veterinarian to make sure everyone stays jolly.

Anchor the Tree

Use a sturdy, solid base to anchor your tree securely. Unsteady trees can topple over on pets if they accidentally brush it or decide to jump up on it. The stagnant water in the base is a breeding ground for bacteria, so you don’t want it tipping over, either. Also sweep up any loose pine needles around your tree, as they could cause punctures in your pet’s stomach or intestines.

Beware of Tinsel and Ornaments

The shiny strands of tinsel decorating your tree may look like fun play-toys to a cat or dog. Unfortunately, they can cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Put tinsel high up on the tree where your pet can’t reach it. Also watch for ornaments with small, breakable pieces, as these could be choked on if your pet decides to nibble on one.

Avoid Holiday Goodies

Around the holidays, chocolate, baked goods, candies and gum, fatty foods, and more dangerous items might be left out where pets can reach them. Take care to store all dangerous foods in sealed cabinets or the refrigerator. Don’t give your dog bones to chew on—cooked or uncooked bones can splinter, lacerating your pet’s throat or puncturing the intestines.

Poisonous Plants

Poinsettia plants, holly, and mistletoe are all toxic to pets if enough is ingested. Save yourself a holiday trip to the emergency room by keeping these plants out of your pet’s reach. If your pet does accidentally swallow some, call your West Greenwich veterinary professional immediately.

Provide a Safe Place

Many pets, especially shy or easily-anxious ones, can be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of a holiday party. If guests are coming to your house, set up a safe haven in a back room for your pet. Choose a quiet place and lay down a bed with some soft blankets. Show your pet where it is before guests arrive, and lead him to it if he seems overwhelmed or anxious.

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