FOOD AND FOOD RELATED ITEMS Certain foods are toxic and dangerous to pets. Remember to pet proof the garbage. And pick up before going to bed so tempting items are not left out. Foods such as grapes, raisins, alcohol, meat-soaked strings from roasts or poultry, and Macadamia nuts are all potentially harmful to your pet. Never feed table scraps as fatty foods are too rich for their digestive systems. Tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers are also dangerous if swallowed.
NEVER GIVE A PET AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT A new puppy should never be given as a gift. The holidays are too noisy and stressful for a new family pet to adjust, and far too many are surrendered to shelters after the holidays due to it not working out. A better idea is to give a gift certificate from a shelter so he or she can pick out their own new pet after the holidays.
KEEP ALL HOLIDAY PLANTS OUT OF REACH Many plants are toxic or poisonous to pets. Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and hibiscus, among others, are dangerous if ingested.
PET PROOF THE CHRISTMAS TREE Hang shiny or breakable ornaments high and out of reach. Tinsel can be dangerous if swallowed. Never decorate a tree with food items such as popcorn or gingerbread. Watch for broken glass ornaments or sharp ornament hangers. If you have a live tree, the needles and branches can be poisonous if ingested, as well as the tree water. Cover the water container with a tree skirt. You can place a screen around the tree or use scat mats to keep pets away.
WATCH THE ELECTRICAL WIRES Electrical cords and light strands can seem like good chew toys for puppies. Cover them and tack them down or use a spray such as bitter apple as a deterrent. And unplug lights when not in use.
RIBBONS AND BOWS Keep gift ribbons and bows out of reach to prevent chewing or swallowing.
COSTUMES Resist the temptation to dress your pet in cute holiday costumes, hats or ribbons. If you do, watch them closely so they don’t get tangled or injured.
VISITORS If you have visitors for the holidays consider how comfortable your dog is among crowds of people. If necessary, put your pet in a quiet room with food and water and a favorite toy, to reduce the stress.
KNOW WHERE YOUR PET IS Always keep a current ID tag on your dog at all times, especially during the holidays. Statistically, more dogs run off and get lost during the holidays due to stress or the front door being opened frequently for guests. Make it a point to pay attention to where your pet is at all times.
A little pre-planning goes a long way towards keeping your pet safe during the holiday season. Keep your vet’s phone number handy. And most of all, have a wonderful and happy season!
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.