Pet safety tips for the holidays

Grover here, SECCO‘s canine mascot (and, if I say so myself, a downright handsome devil!)

With the holidays coming up, I thought it would be important to give you the low-down on the best ways to keep your furry pals safe and sound. Remember – they deserve to have a holly jolly good time, too! (Yes… even the cats, though I hate to admit it…)

In no particular order, here are some of my strongest pet safety recommendations. Ignore them at your own – not to mention your pet’s – risk!

1. Whether you get a live tree, or you invest your money in an artificial one, make sure that it’s secure. I can’t tell you how many times a sparkling spruce landed on my back. OUCH!

2. Make sure your pet doesn’t drink out of the water for your live tree. That’s some murky H2O and can lead to serious stomach issues for your pet buddies.

3. No more tinsel… both cats and dogs like to chomp on it (although cats seem to have a particular penchant for the fancy stuff), and it’ll just hurt us.

4. Please don’t give us any people food. Sure, we’ll beg for it, but it’s up to you to take it away before we can get ourselves in trouble. (For instance, did you know that chocolate is deadly to us? It sure smells yummy, and I’d be tempted to taste it… so keep it from my reach!)

5. There are certain plants, like holly, poinsettias and mistletoe, that are dangerous for pets. Keep them out of the house.  (If someone gives you a plant as a gift, thank him or her and then regift it to a friend or neighbor who doesn’t have a pet.)

6. Lit candles are way too easy to knock over with a swipe of the tail or a bat of the paw! Please be super careful if you decide to have them in the room… and never, ever leave them unattended.

7. Now, I can tell the difference between an electrical wire and a piece of rope… but a lot of cats and dogs can’t. Don’t risk your furry friend being electrocuted; keep wires from their eager mouths.

8. Yeah, you love having your human guests over, but it’s probably going to drive me (and other pets) insane. If you want us to stay stress-free and not get over-stimulated by all the activity, let us have a place of our own in the house.

9. Be nice to us! Don’t forget about our needs during all the hubbub and festivities. We still want to be played with, brushed, fed, walked, etc.

10. If you’re having overnight guests, remind them that we’re very, very nosy. We’ll get into anything they have, including medicines, if it isn’t securely kept away from us.

11. It’s just not cool to give alcohol to pets. Period. For some reason, humans seem to think this is funny. It’s horrible, and can lead to death.

12. Our hearing is really sensitive, so if you’re going to be ultra-loud (as in the case of having noisemakers or singing karaoke), put us somewhere quiet.

13. We can get cold, so don’t keep us in a freezing house, garage, attic, shed or basement for any length of time.

14. Never leave us unattended in the car for any serious length of time.  (If you do need to pop into the grocery store for 5 minutes, roll the window down and bit and give us a snuggly blanket to keep us cozy.)

15. Pick up fallen ornaments before we can try to chew on them.

16. If you have little kids or crawling babies at the house, please keep an eye on them. If it’s up to us to babysit, we might just want to treat them like we would our own babies… and humans don’t really like to be nipped at, barked at or herded.

17. Keep the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center 24-Hour Emergency Hotline number handy: 888-4-ANI-HELP.  That way, if you sense that something’s wrong with your purring or barking buds, you can get help immediately.

18. Along with the poison control hotline, keep your veterinarian’s number on speed dial as well.

19. Don’t give Fido the bones from your meals; they can be too small and cause choking.  (Again, we’ll try to get you to give these to us.  Ignore the wide eyes.)

20. Get rid of the notion that you’ll string popcorn on the Christmas tree as a decoration. No dog worth his or her salt will be able to resist trying to eat it all.

21. Put Santa’s milk and cookies (and Rudolph’s carrots) out of the reach of me and my friends, or Santa will only find very sick animals… and no goodies.

22. Don’t leave the door open when guests are coming in and out of the house, or your pets may take the opportunity to escape.  (This is a good time to make sure they have ID tags on them, and that their shots are up-to-date.)

23. If you’re planning to travel over the river and through the woods, keep your pet in a carrier. Never let him or her roam freely in your vehicle.  And be careful if you’re traveling by airplace or other commercial means.  (In many cases, boarding your pet is a better option.)

24. Remember your pooch or kitty with a special treat!  It helps keep us calm and happy.

25.  Make sure your home heating system is good to go for those chilly winter nights.


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