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Easy Tips for A Pet-Safe Holiday Season

Tips for a Pet-Safe Holiday Season Easy Tips for a Pet-Safe Holiday Season
There’s nothing more scrumptious than gathering with friends and family for the holidays, but many of the ingredients in human fun can result in distress for pets. As we kick off this season of lights, parties and yummy treats, the ASPCA wants to remind pet parents of the potential hazards certain goodies and décor can pose to our furry friends.
“As you prepare for your holiday celebrations,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Animal Health Services, “remember to be wary of foods and traditions that can bring potential dangers to companion animals.”
In honor of the joyous season to come, ASPCA poison control experts offer these essential tips for having pets at the party in a safe way:
Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing
While the holidays are a time for giving, there are some foods you should not share with your furry friends. A taste of mashed potato or a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, alcoholic beverages, coffee, onions, fatty foods, yeast dough and macadamia nuts can all lead to stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. A special no-no is chocolate, which if ingested can lead to death. And you may want to skip sharing the turkey—poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages.


Put the Meds Away
One of the most common holiday-related emergencies is the consumption of human pharmaceuticals. Make sure all your medications are securely locked away, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

That Holiday Glow
When you leave the room, put the candles out! Animals can easily knock lit candles over, causing a fire, and curious cats are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also, be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on stable surfaces.

Decorations Can Be Dangerous
Holiday decorations such as breakable ornaments, string, ribbon and dreidels should be kept out of paws’ reach. These traditional decorations can cause choking or severe intestinal problems if swallowed. All holiday light strands, loose wires and electric cords can also pose serious dangers to your pet, especially puppies, who may chew on them.

Go Tinsel-less
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Forgo the Flowers
Be careful with holiday floral arrangements. Lilies are commonly used this time of year and all varieties, including Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and Casa Blanca can cause kidney failure in cats. In addition, common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can be potentially toxic to pets. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Safe alternatives include artificial flowers made from silk or plastic.

Oh, Christmas Tree
Cats often see trees as fabulous climbing posts. Be sure to securely anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Also keep in mind that tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria, and, if ingested, a pet may suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the New Year, be alert to any pet hazards such as noise-makers and confetti. Noise-makers can frighten your pets, causing them to bolt out an open door or window. Confetti, if ingested, can wreak havoc on the digestive tract.

Holiday Travel
Before traveling with your pets by car or plane, make sure they have all the required vaccinations and are wearing identification tags or are microchipped. If you’re traveling by car, be sure to secure your pet safely with a seatbelt harness, crate or barrier and make frequent stops, allowing pets time to exercise and relieve themselves.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies) or www.aspca.org/apcc.

Posted:  Just One More Pet


Sharing Thanksgiving With Your Pets

A Poison Safe Home – Some Tips For the Holidays and All Year Round

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s In A Name – Tonka

Several friends have asked me about Tonka’s name. Tonka is our “prison dog” (now out on parole), the little character we adopted last spring from the Colorado Correctional Industries K-9 Companion program.

Tonka was a stray found on the eastern plains of Colorado near Lamar, where he was given over to a local rescue organization. I wrote to the woman who fostered him to ask how they decided on his name. Of course we have all heard of Tonka toys and trucks, but I also read that Tonka is a Sioux word meaning “great” or “big.”

Donna from the rescue group said she wished it was something neat like a Sioux word. She said they name hundreds of dogs and she just picked a name. Sometimes the names are chosen for an attribute or character of a dog but in Tonka’s case, apparently that name just came to mind.

She also said that sometimes names get chosen because it has to sound different than the names of other foster dogs in the home at the time. That way when you call them, they know who is being called. She said she usually has a litter, several adult fosters, plus her own dogs at any given time. Bless her!

Anyway, I’m sticking with Tonka’s name being a Sioux word. Tonka’s vet has already started calling him “Tatonka” because she likes the Sioux reference. We found this online:

The Buffalo (Tatonka) holds deep meaning for the Sioux and generally represents Mother Earth and all she provides and offers. There are legends concerning the White Buffalo as well.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Success Stories | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Poison Safe Home – Some Tips For the Holidays and All Year Round

Dog looking to the right

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm Weather Hazards

  • Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost piles Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies
  • Fly baits containing methomyl
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde


Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:

  • Pain killers
  • Cold medicines
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Vitamins
  • Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards

  • Antifreeze
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Ice melting products
  • Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Mothballs
  • Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Holiday Hazards

  • Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
  • Electrical cords
  • Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
  • Batteries
  • Glass ornaments

Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats

The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:

  • Water-based paints
  • Toilet bowl water
  • Silica gel
  • Poinsettia
  • Cat litter
  • Glue traps
  • Glow jewelry
    Source:  ASPCA  – Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment