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During all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to forget our furry friends and their needs. Following the death of a newly adopted kitten in Hamilton recently, having ingested needles from a Christmas tree, experts are reminding owners of the secret dangers to be aware of during the holiday season.
You may be away for extended periods or have visitors dropping by, so make sure there is someone available at all times to check on or board your pet. Note that your pet's vaccinations will have to be up-to-date to be accepted at a boarding facility. Keep pets away from noise in a quiet room.
Christmas decorations should be as pet-friendly as possible, so avoid using tinsel or small shiny ornaments that curious animals may swallow, which can lead to serious injury and expensive surgery! Barricade the water trough around your tree to prevent your pet from drinking the water, which may be dirty and contain pine needles, which are indigestible. Christmas lights are always hazardous, so secure electrical cords that some pets may chew on and conceal outlets. Also keep pets away from open flames.
Some Christmas plants are toxic to pets, so keep them away from mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and amaryllis. If ingested, they may cause vomiting, diarrhea and/or other problems. If your pet has ingested something you're unsure about, call your veterinarian.
The gift of giving
After gifts are unwrapped at Christmas, discard or store the paper and ribbons, which could be dangerous play toys for pets. Note that chocolate is toxic for cats and dogs.
Table scraps and left-overs aren't just too rich for your pets, bones in the meat could lead to serious complications or death. Ensure that edibles in Christmas stockings or on the tree are unreachable by your pet and away from dangerous places, such as the fireplace.
Always ensure your pet is wearing adequate identification if your pet might slip out of the house unnoticed. On colder days, limit your pet's exposure outdoors to short periods of time
If you're travelling with your pet, update proper ID tags or consider having your pet microchipped. Bring your pet's current medications and make a list of vets in the area you'll visit. Help your pet get used to the crate before travel and don't use tranquilizers before a flight.
Remember that a pet is for life, not just for Christmas, so keep your companion animals safe, healthy and happy now and in the New Year!