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Best Friends Animal Society Offers Tips to Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can have an impact on everyone in the household, including your pets. Many traditions such as foods, decorations and plants that may seem harmless can be dangerous and even life-threatening to your pets.

“It’s important to pay special attention to your pets over the holidays because there are so many things they are exposed to that can cause trouble,” said Michael Dix, DVM and medical director of Best Friends Animal Society. “Our pets are naturally curious and love new things. The holidays provide a whole new world for them to explore.”

Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, offers the following tips to keep your dogs and cats safe during the holiday season:

  • An active home full of holiday guests can increase the chance of your pets becoming loose, so it’s important that your pet is has an identification tag with current contact information.
  • Be aware that increased visitors and lights can cause stress.
  • As your home fills with guests and parties, maintain a normal schedule of walks, treats, and alone time, as well as providing a warm, safe, quiet place that can act as a retreat.
  • Curb the tendency to give your dog or cats human food. Any change in your pets diet may give them indigestion, diarrhea or worse. Foods that people should avoid giving their pets include chocolate, grapes, onions, poultry bones, eggnog and fruitcake. Call your veterinarian with any questions about what food may be toxic to your pet.
  • Holiday plants such as lilies, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are known to be toxic to pets and should be kept out of reach.
  • The water your live Christmas tree sits in is a breeding ground for bacteria and can be extremely harmful. Keep the water covered at all times with a thick skirt.
  • Tape electrical cords safely to the wall and make sure that all electrical connections, batteries, and outlets are concealed.
  • Tinsel, ribbon, metal hooks, and glass can obstruct or perforate the intestine if ingested. Use alternatives such as paper or plastic ornaments with plastic hooks and hang dangerous decorations out of reach from your pet.
  • Quickly dispose of wrapping paper, packages, and bows after opening presents and put children’s toys out of reach of pets after playtime to avoid accidental ingestion by pets.

Some symptoms that your pet has become ill and should be taken to a veterinarian quickly include prolonged vomiting (more than three times in a row), dry heaves, a distended abdomen, sudden weakness or inability to stand, respiratory distress, change in gum color and/or seizures.

“Better to err on the side of caution and call your veterinary or emergency hospital if there are concerns that your pet needs to be seen immediately,” Dix said.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a national animal welfare organization focused on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from 17 million per year to about 4 million. Best Friends has the knowledge, technical expertise and on-the-ground network to end the killing and Save Them All®.

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