Do you know all the hazards your pet is exposed to?
How about what plants are poisonous and what foods should be avoided?
Pet care is more than just feeding, watering and vet trips, it also includes making sure they stay healthy by providing a safe environment. There are many daily hazards that could harm your pet and care needs to be taken especially around the holidays. Here’s a list of pet safety tips that can help keep your pets happy and healthy:
- Watch Your Guests Sometimes your guests can be your pets worst friend! Well meaning party-goers could overfeed your pet and cause him to become ill. Imagine if you had 20 guests and each one fed “treats” to your pet! Also, be sure your pet doesn’t bolt out of the house when guests open the door – it might be wise to invest in a good crate so your pet can feel safe and be out of harms way during your party. And if the worst happens and your pet does run out, make sure you have good id tags with your name and address. You may also want to look into this online pet tracking service.
- Small Objects For pet safety, remove confetti, tinsel, Easter grass, small toys and wrapping paper from all areas accessible to your pet. They could cause severe gastrointestinal blockage if eaten.
- Pet costumes are cute but can be hazardous – watch for outfits that are secured with rubber bands as they can cause gastrointestinal blockage if eaten. (My ferret once ate a rubber band, became very ill and was given up for dead by the vet – by some miracle she passed the blockage and went on to live for another 6 years!) Most pet clothing is safe, but use caution. Also be careful with bandanas and anything that ties around your pets neck to be sure he cannot choke himself. For maximum pet safety refrain from tying ribbons or bows around any pets neck.
- People Food Pets don’t need to be fed table scraps, most of the greasy holiday foods are not good for them and overfeeding can make them ill. In particular do not feed them chocolate – it can be fatal especially to cats. So make sure you move those valentine candies, Easter eggs and chocolate Santas out of pets reach. Other foods to avoid are onions, alcohol and poultry bones. If you want to feed your pet a treat give them something that is both good for them and enjoyable to them like bone treats for dogs, for cats, and Avicakes bird treats for birds.
- Halloween Don’t leave your pet out on Halloween. Besides the fact that someone might feed them chocolate, they could become the brunt of some prank or not so innocent Halloween activity.
- Decorations Keep holiday (or any day) decorations such as dried flowers or glass ornaments away from your pet. The dried flowers can irritate their mouth and stomach if eaten and ornaments could shatter and cut your pet or worse they could ingest the glass. In particular, practice pet safety with candles – a pet could eat the wax, be singed by the flame or even knock a candle over and start a fire!
- House Plants Decorative, holiday and house plants can be toxic and could cause mouth irritation or even vomiting and diarrhea if eaten by your pet. There are many toxic plants but common toxic holiday plants include potted bulbs, ivy, holly, mistletoe and greens (contrary to popular belief poinsettia are not overly dangerous but I still wouldn’t let my pet eat one!). This is not an exhaustive list so before you bring any new plant into the house please research it’s toxicity. Pet Safety – ASPCA List of Toxic Plants
- Christmas Tree Put ornaments out of reach and avoid using tinsel which can cause gastrointestinal blockage if eaten. Don’t let your pets eat the tree branches, climb in the tree or drink the tree stand water. While the tree water or solutions themselves are not toxic, they can harbor bacteria which could make your pet sick.
- Electrical Cords Keep them out of reach of pets especially puppies. They can chew through the cord and get burned or even electrocuted.
- Outdoor Hazards Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets. Keep your pet away from any puddles that might contain it. Rock salt can be irritating to pet paws and also to their stomach if eaten or licked off the paws. Use common sense when practicing pet safety during the winter months.