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Christmas & New Year: Keep your pets safe during the holidays

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 6:11 am in Chocolate & Pets, Pets, Poisonous plants.

Photo by Flickr user Lee Coursey used under a Creative Commons License
catdog Lee Coursey

Helpful hints from The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is reminding people that as they celebrate the season, many of the things that make the holidays special — the hustle and bustle of travel and large gatherings, festive food and beverage, and holiday decorations and plants- may also pose hazards for our canine and feline friends.

With a few simple precautions, our pets can share this special time with us safely. The Humane Society of the United States offers the following tips to keep our four legged family members healthy and happy:

Photo by Flickr user Petteri Sulonen used under a Creative Commons License
catdog Petteri Sulonen

*** A number of seasonal plants are poisonous to pets if nibbled or eaten, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and others. For more information, click

*** Keep holiday decorations away from pets. Tinsel, bows, ribbons and wrapping paper can be tempting chew toys for pets, but can damage their digestive systems. Remember to keep tree ornaments high enough that they’re out of your pet’s reach.

*** Provide your pet with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties. Though some pets may enjoy socializing opportunities, others will be overwhelmed by the excitement of a party.

*** As you enjoy candy and other treats during the holidays, please don’t share with your pets. Chocolate can be especially hazardous. And individually wrapped candies are double troubles as some pets might eat both the candy and the wrapper.

*** Avoid the urge to give you pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death.

*** If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact them in advance to find out if your pet is welcome.  Because of the excitement during the holidays, it might be best to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter instead.

*** Don’t leave candles unattended. Pets may accidentally knock them over and spill wax or start a fire.

Photo by Flickr user Qole Pejorian used under a Creative Commons License
catdog Qole Pejorian

If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family at this time of year, choose adoption and visit your local animal shelter. Wonderful dogs and cats are just waiting in shelters to find their forever home.

Pet stores and online animal dealers cater to impulse purchases during the holidays and most of their dogs come from puppy mills. Puppy mill dogs are generally kept in overcrowded cages with poor quality food, a lack of socialization, minimal medical care, and too many suffer from an array of immediate veterinary problems and long-term genetic problems.

Finally, think twice before giving an animal as a gift, “The recipient of your furry gift may not be ready for the commitment involved with the lifetime care of a pet,” says Betsy McFarland, The HSUS’ senior director, companion animals. “Instead of a puppy among the presents, give the gift of adoption. Many shelters offer adoption gift certificates so the recipient can be actively involved in choosing the perfect pet who will share their home for years to come.”

Now, you and your pets please have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! /Gary

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2 Responses to “Christmas & New Year: Keep your pets safe during the holidays”

  1. Valerie Curcuro Says:

    Thank you for your column in the paper, it’s one of my favorites. It’s what I consider an attitude adjuster and part of my mental health maintenance program. The pictures of dogs and cats getting along together is very comforting, makes one of my favorite scriptures come alive, Isaiah 11:6. Along with a morning cup of coffee I can count on your column putting a smile on my face!

  2. Valerie Curcuro Says:

    Gary, this is a little belated, earlier this week in your newspaper column you’d addressed someone’s issue with dealing with rodents humanely. She’d tried poison with horrifying results. My husband and I found the electronic high frequency sound emitors available at most hardware stores effective. When we first moved into our rural home we had rats, they disappeared after we plugged in the device. It worked for us and it’s significantly more humane than traps or poison.

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