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Holidays can be unsafe for pets

pet safety From the staff at Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital and the American Animal Hospital Association
Pet owners should be aware of the dangers their pets may encounter during the winter months and holiday season.
   Make sure your Christmas tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall using strong cord or rope. Preservatives often used in the water in a tree stand can cause gastric upsets, so be sure it is inaccessible or that the preservatives are not used. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well.
   Holly and mistletoe are extremely poisonous when eaten. The lovely poinsettia may not be truly poisonous, but its milky white sap and leaves can certainly cause severe gastric distress. With so many hybrid varieties available each year, the best approach is to keep the plants out of your pet's reach.
   Sharp or breakable ornaments, dreidels, and even aluminum foil should be kept out of reach. String objects, especially tinsel and ribbons, must be safeguarded at all costs. They are thin and sharp and can wrap around pets' intestines or ball up in the stomach.
   Holiday lights mean more cords for your pet to chew. Be sure that you have cords secured and out of the way.
   Lighted candles should never be left unattended. That is even more important if left at your pet's eye level or within chewing zone. An exuberant tail, a swat of a paw, and candles and hot wax can quickly become disastrous. Anchor candles securely and away from curious faces and feet.
   Check around holiday trees and boughs frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture your pet's intestines if sharp enough.
   The holiday turkey or chicken will leave a lot of tantalizing bones, but don't feed them to your pet. Beware of steak bones too. Small bones or bone chips can lodge in the throat, stomach, and intestinal tract.
   With everyone coming and going, watch out for open doors and sneaky pets. Make sure your pets have collars and tags on in the event of escape. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and remind them that sometimes your normally friendly pet may be less than willing to deal with enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pet to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.
   Antifreeze is toxic to animals, except brands made with propylene glycol.
   Chocolate is toxic to animals, especially in large amounts.
   Check under the hood before starting your car on those cold mornings. Many cats sleep near the engine for warmth and can be hurt or killed.