After weeks of gift shopping, cookie baking and house decorating, it’s finally time to celebrate! From all of us here at the ASPCA, we’d like to send warm holiday wishes to you and your pets.
As you’re making your last-minute holiday to-do list and checking it twice, please don’t forget to consider your pets’ safety in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Keep these potential hazards in mind when getting your home ready for holiday gatherings:
Mind the greenery. Christmas trees, holly and mistletoe present various dangers to your pets. Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored so it doesn’t tip, fall and injure your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Holly and mistletoe can also cause illnesses in pets if ingested.
Hide the leftovers. Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends.
Be careful with your cocktails. Don’t leave alcoholic beverages unattended where your pets might try to drink them—alcohol can cause serious illness in pets.
Use candles and lights with care. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. Also, when decorating with electric or battery-powered lights, consider that wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to your pet’s mouth and esophagus.
As your pets celebrate the holidays with your family this year, try to keep their routines as close to normal as possible. If you plan to have guests in your home, it’s a good idea to keep your pets in a quiet, calm room with plenty of water and places to snuggle.
Can you believe it’s December already? Candy canes, twinkly lights and bow-topped gifts abound. But before we bring out the eggnog, it’s high time we clear the air about one type of holiday décor that has gotten a pretty bad rap: the poinsettia.
Believe it or not, pet parents, these festive plants are not the deadly flowers legend has made them out to be. The myth of the plant’s toxicity actually began in the early part of the 20th century, after the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer allegedly died from consuming a poinsettia leaf. As a result of this rumor, the plant has never lived down its poisonous reputation.
Okay, so you still don’t necessarily want your pets to eat them. Because consuming poinsettias may cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, keeping these plants out of pets’ reach is still a good idea. But there’s no need to banish them altogether.
So, what do you say? Let’s give this plant a break—I hear they make quite the centerpiece.
Thanksgiving is all about spending time with loved ones—human and animal alike. So it makes sense that we’re tempted to fix Fido a plate of all the scrumptious holiday food we’re eating, right? But wait! Put down the serving spoon. Are you sure that’s safe for your pet? Here’s what you need to know.
Ten Thanksgiving dangers. Some foods are totally off-limits to our furry pals. Ten of them are especially common around the holidays. Just say no to:
•sage •shocolate •candy with xylitol •bread dough •batter with raw eggs •onions and garlic •macadamia nuts •raisins and grapes •rich or spicy foods •alcohol
Let’s talk turkey. Good news for Fido! ASPCA experts say a little bite of plain turkey is usually safe for pets. If you decide to share, remember: Only boneless, well-cooked turkey is OK. Giving your pet undercooked or bone-in turkey, fat or gristle, or cooked bones for chewing is not OK.
Don’t overdo it. Lots of us overindulge at the Thanksgiving table, but when our pets do, it can be a real problem. It’s best to keep pets on their normal diets during the holidays, but if you do decide to share your holiday spread, make it just a taste. Eating too much can give your dog diarrhea, upset stomach, or even pancreatitis.
Play it safe. If your dog or cat consumes any potentially harmful foods or products, please consult your veterinarian, or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or www.aspca.org/apcc.
With Halloween just around the corner, you might be tempted to make your cat or dog a star by dressing him up in the cutest mini-sized costume you can find. But wait—is trick-or-treat apparel really safe for your furry friends?
Our experts suggest putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it. Some pets love the limelight: wearing a costume and posing for pictures is a blast! Others prefer to stick to their birthday suits for all occasions, and being dressed like a pumpkin for their pet parents’ amusement can cause unnecessary stress.
If you decide to have your pet wear a costume, here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind:
Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the mini-pirate hat and vest.
Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it doesn’t have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
IDs, please! Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification on underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver.