Keep your pets safe during the holidays

Crowds, alcohol, leftovers, decorations can be trouble for pets

Pet owners who understand that the same holiday treats and trimmings considered harmless for us could be a serious health risk for their pets are barking up the right tree.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers pet owners some helpful hints to ensure that their pets will stay happy, healthy and stress free for the holidays:

•Crowds and holiday festivities can frighten some animals.

If your pet doesn’t enjoy being around a lot of people, make sure you set aside a safe and quiet haven for her to retreat if necessary. If you’re a cat owner, remember that cats are creatures of habit. Disruptions in the home during the holidays, such as rearranging the furniture, could cause your feline to stop using the litterbox.

•Alcohol and pets don’t mix. Place unattended alcoholic drinks where pets can’t reach them; the same holds true for leftovers. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages and greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause stomach upset. Boiled or grilled meats and fresh vegetables can be offered as a healthy alternative.

•Be careful with holiday decorations. Common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe, ivy and holly berries can be poisonous or even fatal. Christmas tree water may contain dangerous fertilizers and can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure holiday candles are placed where your pets can’t overturn them and possibly burn themselves or your home. Decorate your tree with animal safe wood or fabric ornaments or pine cones. Tinsel, ribbon and popcorn strands can be deadly if swallowed.

For more information about pet care and other animal welfare related issues, visit the society’s Website at

This story was provided by the North American Precis Syndicate.

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