Do you know the five things you should keep out of your home this holiday season to help keep your pets safe?
At this time of year, there are plenty of festive decorations and seasonal treats in B.C. homes, along with visiting friends and family members, and often, loud noises of celebration.
“No one wants their furry family members to get seriously ill or injured during the holiday season. But the holidays can be hazardous for pets,” says BC SPCA general manager of community relations Lorie Chortyk.
“It can be as simple as keeping five items out of your pet’s reach to make your home pet-safe for the holidays.”
Five forbidden festive no-nos:
- Poultry bones
- Chocolate and other human treats
- Just say ‘no’ to mistletoe
- Hazardous pet toys
- Bones are Bad: Avoid giving bones to your dogs or cats, particularly turkey bones. Poultry bones easily splinter and can cause serious injury, while bone fragments can cause intestinal blockages or lacerations. Keeping your garbage out of your pet’s reach is also key.
- Human Treats: Chocolate and other sweets should not be given to animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to cats and dogs, though not harmful to humans. The best thing you can do for your pet over the holidays is to keep them on their regular diet. Look for healthy animal treats instead of giving your animal companions cookies, rich snacks or sweets meant for people.
- Poisonous Plants: Many popular holiday plants are poisonous to animals including mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper and Christmas rose. Remember to keep these plants out of reach of pets – especially birds. Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or people. This has been a long-standing rumour perpetuated for decades. Some pets may have a sensitivity to the latex contained in the plant and may get diarrhea or vomit.
- Tinsel is Trouble: Having a Christmas tree and pets can be troublesome. Ensure the tree is well-secured and try to place the decorations above paw height. Using string to hang decorations instead of hooks helps, as hooks can be easily dislodged. If possible, use non-breakable ornaments. Avoid using tinsel or angel hair – cats and dogs will ingest both, which can cause intestinal problems. Cords for lights should be made inaccessible to pets, especially chewing puppies and exploring kittens. If you add chemicals to the water reservoir of your Christmas tree to help it last longer, keep in mind those chemicals are toxic to animals and keep the reservoir covered.
- Toy Watch: Avoid purchasing pet toys with small or soft pieces that can be chewed and swallowed. Nylon bones tend to splinter less than plastic ones. Be sure to inspect pet toys regularly and discard deteriorating ones.
- Neighbour notice: If you’ve just moved, or know that your neighbours like to light firecrackers and fireworks at certain times of year, including New Year’s, consider printing this notice that asks your neighbours to notify you if they plan on lighting any fireworks, so you can ensure your pet is indoors and safe.
“We want all family members, two-legged and four-legged, to enjoy a safe, happy and healthy holiday season,” Chortyk says.