Pet Tips

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Winter Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet's eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations. 

Keep Pets Indoors
Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect. And remember, if it's too cold for you, it's probably too cold for your pet. So keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don't leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Let em' have their fur coat
Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him (and don't neglect the hair between his toes). If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him or her a coat or sweater with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

Oh Christmas Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent tree water-which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset-from spilling.

Avoid Holly and Mistletoe
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Select Special Treats
Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible. Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy, or the interactive cat dancer.

Beware of anti-freeze
Ingesting antifreeze is lethal for your pet. Both cats and dogs have been known to lick this sweet tasting substance. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to-complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub. And as you count down to the New Year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat's intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember, many pets are scared of fireworks. So be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

*Pet tips provided by ASPCA Holiday Safety Tips  ASPCA Cold Weather Safety Tips*