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Keep your home pet-safe for the holidays

November 22, 2018

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 ‘howliday’ season.

“No one wants their furry family members to get seriously ill or injured at this time of year, which can be hazardous for pets,” says Lorie Chortyk, manager, BC SPCA community relations.

“Ensuring  your pets are safe can be as simple as keeping five items out of their reach to make your home pet-safe for the holidays.”

Five forbidden festive no-nos:

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.

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. Proper animal food and treats are the best option to keep them happy and healthy during the holiday season. Learn more about the kinds of foods cats and dogs should not be consuming.

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 other people. However, some pets may have a sensitivity to the latex contained in the plant, and may experience diarrhea or vomiting.

Tinsel could be trouble for pets. 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.

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.

Neighbour Notice. If you’ve just moved, or, if you know your neighbours like to light firecrackers and/or fireworks at certain times of the year (such as New Year’s) consider printing the notice below asking your neighbours to notify you if they plan on lighting any fireworks. This will give you time to ensure your pet is indoors and safe when the pyrotechnics go off.