Holiday Tips to Keep Pets Safe
While the season brings wonderful celebrations with family and friends, it's important to think about how the holidays affect our furry friends. You can take simple steps to keep your pets safe in the winter months.
Ten tips for holiday pet safety from Vedante®, a manufacturer of reflective products:
- Make sure your pets are visible at night
Fewer hours of daylight in winter translate into visibility issues for your pet. Dogs and cats should wear highly reflective collars with 360-degree visibility. Reflective dog leashes, add extra visibility for both dogs and the people walking them. Look for visibility that extends 1000-1500 feet. Highly reflective materials include 3M Scotchlite and Reflexite. Reflective inks have lower reflectivity (200-600 feet). Be cautious when using blinking lights--check if batteries are functioning and keep set at the slowest setting (quickly flashing lights can trigger seizures).
- Keep pets away from dangerous food and drinks
- Make sure your animals are wearing ID tags
Your reflective collar should have an ID tag with contact information. Outdoor pets may become disoriented because of fireworks and loud celebrations. This can lead to extended exposure to cold weather. If possible leave pets inside during loud celebrations.
- Keep candles and flames out of reach
Pets don't have an awareness about the dangers of an open flame. Keep menorahs and advents candles away from wagging tails and whiskers. Keep candles on shelves that are high up or in a hurricane lamp, and make sure you are in the room when they are burning.
- Be mindful of holiday decorations
Something as simple as an electrical cord, tinsel, or a decorative ribbon may pose a threat if your pet thinks it is something to chew. Use cord protectors and learn which plants are poisonous to your pets, including ivy, mistletoe, and poinsettia.
- Keep time out in the cold to a minimum
Just because your pets have fur, doesn't mean they don't get cold. Animals should be kept out of extreme temperatures. Walks in snow can lead to frostbitten paws. Never leave your pet in a car for an extended period in extreme temperatures.
- Keep chemicals and medicines away from animals
- House guests may unknowingly introduce unsafe conditions if their medicines and toiletries become accessible to pets. Outdoor chemical exposure increases in winter--whether chemicals or salt used to clear icy streets or antifreeze that has leaked from your car. Wipe away chemicals and salt from fur and paws after a walk. If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center - 888-426-4435.
- Arrange for qualified pet sitting if leaving town for the holidays
Even though some animals do well for a few days, it's important to have someone check in on your pet. Vedante® suggests asking your friend or pet sitter to contact you with daily updates. If you can't find a neighbor or friend, look into kennels or bring your animal to a pet-friendly hotel with you.
- Make sure young children are supervised when with an animal
Young children may not understand the consequences of their actions when playing with a pet. If your animal is exposed to children, make sure both are safe by paying close attention during interactions (or place pet in another room).
- If giving a pet, consider giving pet care stocking stuffers
Giving a pet can be a sweet holiday gift. Before you give a pet as a family gift, take the overall home environment into account: Will the animal be well cared for? Is there enough time to dedicate to a new pet? Are the children old enough to understand the responsibility of pet care? If the answer is yes, giving an animal can lead to years of joy. Consider giving a pet-care book and a super-reflective collar so that health and safety will be paramount in the life of a new pet.