Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates
Celebrating the holidays can be such a wonderful experience for many of us. The smells, foods, decorations and gifts make this time of year very enjoyable. Being surrounded by our pets is a true joy this time of year. However, the holiday season can be very dangerous for your pet if you are not cautious.
Let’s start with the Christmas tree. If you use a real tree, make sure the water in the stand is covered so that your pet cannot drink it. The pine sap is not safe for ingestion. Also, it is best to turn off the lights on your tree when you are not home. Pets might chew on the cords and get electrocuted. Pets can get tangled up in the cords as well. Do not use tinsel, ribbon or other glittery items, as these can be very enticing to pets, particularly cats. Ornament hooks can be swallowed and cause damage to intestines. Decorating the bottom part of your tree with ornaments made of wood or plastic, that won’t break, can prevent intestinal blockages.
Gifts that contain human food can present problems for your pets as well. Chocolate, raisins, onions, coffee, tea and alcohol are delicious to us humans, but are quite dangerous for animals. Foods such as yams, sweet potatoes and canned pumpkins (minus the spices) are safe for your pets to eat.
Although plants add to the ambiance of our holiday celebrations, there are more than 700 plants that are toxic to pets. Poinsettias and mistletoe are dangerous to animals. So, keep these plants out of reach of your four-legged companions or buy artificial.
Burning candles can be a concern this time of year. Put these candles in areas that are not accessible to your pets. Do not leave the house with candles lit at any time. There are battery operated candles that can be used with safety in mind.
So, if you are feeling as though there are too many restrictions on you holiday experiences, just imagine this time of year, or any time of year, without your faithful companions at your side. This will make the decision to be safe an easy one. Enjoy the holidays with your animal friends!