Keep a pet-safe home for the holidays - BC SPCA
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Keep a pet-safe home for the holidays

December 2, 2021

It’s a festive time of year for humans, but it can be a tricky time for the animals in our lives. Whether it’s décor, plants, or the hustle and bustle at home, there are certain things guardians need to be aware of when celebrating the season.

Christmas decorations

A Christmas tree with tinsel, plus a curious pet can spell trouble. Make sure your tree is well-secured, and try to place the decorations above paw height. Using strings to hang decorations instead of hooks can help, as hooks can easily become dislodged. If possible, use non-breakable ornaments.

Tinsel and angel hair are decorations which, if ingested by your pet, can cause intestinal problems. Also: don’t forget those lights! Cords should be made inaccessible to pets, especially chewing puppies and exploring kittens. Finally, 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 — so it’s best to keep the reservoir covered.

Human food and treats

Humans may enjoy chocolate, but it contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to both cats and dogs. And while it may be tempting to feed Fido or Fifi human food under the table, the best thing you can do for your pet is to keep them on their regular diet.

Poultry bones

Avoid giving bones to your dogs or cats, particularly turkey bones. Poultry bones can easily splinter and cause serious injury, while bone fragments could cause intestinal blockages or lacerations. Keeping your garbage out of your pet’s reach is also key.

Poisonous plants

A number of holiday plants are poisonous to animals. This includes mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper and Christmas rose. Be sure these plants stay out of the reach of pets — especially birds. Contrary to popular belief, Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or people. However, some pets may have a sensitivity.

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. You should be inspecting your pet’s toys regularly and discarding deteriorating ones.

New Year’s fireworks

If you’ve just moved or you already know that your neighbours like to set off fireworks around the holidays, consider printing this poster asking them to give you advance notice. This will give you time to ensure your pet is indoors and safe when the pyrotechnics go off. Other fireworks safety tips for New Year’s Eve include:

  • Ensure your pet has at least two forms of identification in case they go missing. Pets should have a collar with tags and an ear tattoo or a microchip registered with the BC Pet Registry.
  • If you must take your dog outside to relieve himself, make sure he’s appropriately leashed or, better yet, harnessed. Hold tight to the leash, even in your backyard, to keep him from bolting.