The holidays are accompanied by extra delicious food and weird decorations like tinsel and trees! Unfortunately, these exciting things can be hazardous to our furry companions. Keep these safety tips in mind to protect your cats and dogs this winter:
1. No bones... especially turkey bones. Poultry bones splinter and can cause injury to your pets. Bone fragments can cause intestinal blockages or lacerations.
2. No chocolate! Sweats should not be given to animals. They break down food differently than people, and chocolate and candy can make them sick. Chocolate can be fatal to dogs. Keep your pets on a regular diet, and only allow them to have special treats from the pet store.
3. Decorative plants can be poisonous. According to the SPCA, many popular holiday plants are poisonous to animals. Their list includes mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper, and Christmas rose. Contrary to common believe, poinsettia plants are not poisonous but if consumed your pet may get diarrhea or throw up.
4. No tinsel. Just avoid it all together. Yes - it looks nice on the Christmas tree, but if ingested by cats or dogs can cause serious intestinal problems. Use string to hang bulbs instead of hooks, and hang ornaments above paw height. Keep flashing lights out of reach to avoid chewing and possible electrocution, and keep chemicals out of the water reservoir on the tree. Better yet - put up a fake tree.
5. Drinking water. It's cold outside... burrrrr! If you have outdoor pets, check their water twice a day to make sure their water hasn't frozen over.
6. Antifreeze - many of us use antifreeze in our vehicles this time of year, and pets love the smell. Many animals will consume it if they get the chance. Even the smallest amount can be very harmful and often fatal to a cat or dog. Watch your vehicle for leaks, and if possible try using a pet-friendly antifreeze that is propylene glycol-based. You can find it in some retails outlets or at your local auto centre. For more info on antifreeze visit http://www.spca.bc.ca/welfare/campaign-issues/pet-friendly-antifreeze.html.
7. Pets and Transportation. Road conditions can be icy and slick. This is no time for your dogs to be in the back of the truck, exposed, or loose in the back seat where they can hurt other passengers in an accident. Use a seat-belt harness or a travel crate to keep your buddy safe and secure.
8. Check your engine! Wildlife - especially cats - like to cuddle up in the warm engines during the cold weather. Bang on the hood of your vehicle before starting it, so that you can avoid injury.