‘Tis the season for celebration, but keep in mind the following tips to ensure the safety of your pets during the holidays:

• Certain plants, such as mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly, can be poisonous to pets. Keep these plants well out of the reach of animals, or consider using artificial versions.

• Tinsel, glass ornaments, and garlands can easily attract pets, but are choking hazards.

• Stringed lights can give your pets a shock should they chew on the wires. Keep them out of reach, or at the very least, spray electrical cords with bitter-apple spray, which pets don’t like.

• Whether using a cut or live tree, keep the water stand covered to prevent pets from drinking it-the live tree may contain dangerous fertilizers or bacteria, or if you use aspirin in the water for your cut tree, this can be toxic to cats.

• Don’t let pine needles accumulate on the floor, as these needles can perforate the intestinal lining of dogs and cats. Additionally, trees should be tethered to a wall or the ceiling to prevent them from falling on pets.

• Do your gift wrapping on an elevated surface, where your pets can’t get into (and consequently eat) string, paper, and ribbons that can cause intestinal blockages.

• Alcoholic beverages, seeds, chocolate, walnuts, coffee, tea, and pits from many fruits can be toxic to pets if ingested.

• The unusual commotion of the holiday season can be stressful on animals. Put your pets in a quiet room when guests are visiting; put on a relaxing CD to calm your pet.

• Leave a note on the front door reminding visitors not to allow your pet to run out of the house. Nothing puts a damper on festivities like turning a holiday party into a search party.

• If you must fly with your pet, it’s best to have them secured in a carrier, underneath your seat. Animals traveling in carriers must be removed from those carriers when going through security. Make sure your pet has proper ID and a leash to keep it from running away


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