Sunday, October 30, 2011

HOLIDAY HAZARDS AND HOW TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE ....................................Michelle of Creative Critters

Holidays can be a fun and festive time for humans, but can also present many dangers for our pets.  Here are some holiday-related hazards that could harm your pets and how to keep them safe.  With a few extra precautions it can be a happy time for the entire family, the furry four legged members included!
This can be an especially dangerous time for cats, especially black cats.  Sadly, there are some very sick individuals out there who would torture black cats (or any other poor animals they can get their hands on).  Keep your cats indoors at this time of year, even those that may normally be indoor/ outdoor cats.  Since you'll probably be repeatedly opening the door for trick or treaters, it's a good idea to keep your pets in a secure area of the house so they can't slip out the door. 
Candles are often lit for Halloween and can also pose a danger to curious pets. There's a good reason for the saying "curiosity killed the cat".  Dogs or cats may burn themselves when they get too curious about the flickering flame, or knock the candles over and start a fire.  If you're going to have lit candles, be sure they are placed where your pets can't get at them, and never leave a candle burning unattended.  It only takes a second for a fire to start.
There will be plenty of candy and gum being given out, but neither is a good treat for your pets.  Candy and gum may be sweetened with Xylitol, which is toxic to pets.  And all forms of chocolate can be harmful to pets.  Even a small amount can result in poisoning or even pancreatic inflammation from the high fat content.  If you want to give your pet something special, give them treats made for dogs or cats.
Thanksgiving is all about food, and plenty of it!  No matter how much your dog (or cat) begs, do not give him turkey or chicken bones.  These, and other small bones, can splinter easily, causing serious internal damage if swallowed.  If you want to give your dog bones, stick with the large bones from the pet store.
And then there are all those hot containers filled with delicious-smelling food.  Your pet may be tempted to jump up on the counter or stove to investigate more closely, risking getting burned.  Supervise your pets closely to keep them safe.  And don't load them up with table scraps.  They may look adorable as they sit there begging for ham, chicken, turkey, and all the fixings, but all that "people food" can lead to upset stomachs and vomiting.  Not only will your poor pet be miserable with an upset tummy, but you'll have to clean up the mess they leave behind!
Christmas time can be full of hidden dangers for pets.  Many holiday plants, including Christmas rose, Holly, Lilies, and Mistletoe are toxic to cats and dogs.  Make sure to keep these plants away from your pets.  Ribbons, pretty as they may be, can also pose serious risks to your pets.  Cats especially seem to love chewing on them, and if they swallow them they can become wrapped around the intestines and cause a blockage.  Putting ribbons around your pet's neck is also a bad idea.  They could easily choke.
Old fashion bubble lights are very festive, but they may contain methylene chloride, a highly toxic chemical.
Fire salts (the stuff that makes your fire turn pretty colors) contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets.
Even something as seemingly harmless as the water in your Christmas tree reservoir can be a threat to your pets.  Stagnant tree water, or water containing preservatives, could make your pet sick if they drink it.  And you know if they can get at it, they'll probably drink it.
Christmas ornament hooks are dangerous as well.  If swallowed they can cause blockage or trauma to the gastrointestinal track.  The same goes for tinsel, Styrofoam, and ornaments.  Tinsel is especially attractive to cats.  Personally, I simply won't use it any more.  No matter what, my cats always seem to find a way to get at it.  It's pretty and sparkly, but not worth the risk to my furry friends.
This is also a time when you may have a lot of company, which can upset and confuse some pets.  If possible, give them a quiet place away from the festivities where they can feel safe.  And never force your pet to "visit with" company.  Dragging your cat out so everyone can see her is very stressful for her, and someone may end up getting scratched.  Some dogs can be fearful around a lot of people as well, so take this into consideration.  They're part of the family and deserve to be treated as such.  Sometimes it's a better idea to just share all the pictures of your pets (that way people can see their true personality anyway, rather than a scared animal that just wants to hide).
These tips apply to all other holidays as well.  Noisy holidays, like New Year's and the 4th of July, are very scary for pets.  Keep them indoors and away from the noise and fireworks.  And never give your pet alcohol at any time - it's toxic.  Some people may think it's funny to get their dog drunk, but it's just cruel and could end up killing him.
Enjoy your holidays and keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy by following these simple guidelines.

Submitted by Michelle of Creative Critters where her love of all sorts of animals can be seen in the variety of media she uses to create many kinds of unique and beautiful items for people and pets. Michelle is a very active member of the Crafting for Animals Guild on ArtFire and works hard in many ways to help homeless and abused pets of all kinds. 


Scotti Cohn said...

Great advice, Michelle! I hope people with pets will print this post out and keep it handy during the holidays!

Debra - Sew Bizzy Gifts said...

Lots of great advice and suggestions. Very well written and researched. Thank you, Michelle!

Creative Critters said...

Thanks Scotti and Debra! =)

Kanweienea Kreations said...

Great article with very important subject. Well done!

Pam said...

Thanks for all the tips and the cute pictures!