Remember to "pet-proof" your house for the holidays. The following guidelines are recommended for protecting man's best friend:
- Food--certain food--can be fatal. Alcoholic beverages and coffee are exceptionally dangerous, as are onions, salt, yeast, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, and chocolate. Keep Fido out of the trashcan, too--spoiled and moldy foods can also cause digestive problems.
- Keep poisonous plants out of reach or in areas where pets aren't free to wander. These include lilies, which can cause kidney failure in cats; poinsettias and holly, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea; and mistletoe, which can cause cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal upset.
- Keep the water in your Christmas tree stand covered. Tree water is often infested with fertilized, bacteria, and other harmful elements.
- Christmas trees themselves can be hazardous--kittens can become entangled in tinsel
and ribbon, and broken ornaments can be hazardous to delicate paws.
- Keep electrical cords--a chewing temptation--away from Fido and Fluffy.
- Plastic gift bags can suffocate--keep them out of animals' reach.
- Make sure candles and other unprotected flames are not within your pets' reach. Spilled
wax can cause burns if a curious cat or dog bumps into some and a flickering flame begs
to be sniffed, pawed at and knocked over.
- Human medications, often used more during the holidays, should be stored out of pets' reach. Just one regular-strength ibuprofen tablet can cause stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog.
- Fumes from wrapping paper burned in the fireplace can cause toxic fumes to birds.
- Place telephone numbers for your veterinarian, an emergency vet service, the SPCA, and
ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-ANI-HELP) in a convenient location.