2018-12-01 / Community Life

Christmas hazards for pets

Christmas trees are adorned with lights, tinsel and ornaments. Tables are decorated with poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and the village that you’ve taken years to complete.

It is a beautiful scene -- until your pet enters the picture.

A Christmas tree is a cat’s dream. He can be inside and warm and still have a tree to climb, plus there are all these little toys dangling from the branches. Oh, and the tinsel!

Cats LOVE tinsel. It’s like sparkly string. It’s fun to chase and fun to eat. But since tinsel is non-digestible, it can easily lead to an obstructed bowel. If you have cats in your home, it is best to forego the tinsel.

Dogs will occasionally taste-test the tinsel, too, so it carries the same risk, particularly for small dogs.

Be sure that your Christmas tree is well-anchored so it will not fall if your cat climbs it or your dog runs into it. Also, if you have a fresh Christmas tree, change the water regularly so it does not become infested with water-borne bacteria. Do not use chemical additives in the water, just in case your dog or cat should use the tree stand as a drinking bowl.

Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias all present a poisoning risk to pets. If your pet should ingest any of these items, call your veterinarian right away.

Small elements of a replica village or manger could be choking hazards or be ingested. Cats can be annoyingly persistent in their attempts to rearrange the village. For large dog owners, one swipe of a tail could be all it takes to wipe your village off of the map.

Be sure that your pet doesn’t eat “people food” that it shouldn’t, such as chocolate. Keep wires away from paws and teeth to prevent electrical shock. Always, not just at Christmas time, be careful with lighted candles. It only takes one brush of a tail or swipe of a paw to set a tragedy in motion.

If you pet isn’t the social type, make sure you provide a quiet place during social gatherings with access to food, water, a bed and a favorite toy.

Best wishes to all for a happy, safe and healthy holiday season. ‘Til next time, take care of those you love . . . even those with fur, feathers, fins or scales.

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