Animal Rights

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe During Holiday Season

| by PETA

By Heather Faraid Drennan

Making up songs about my cat, Wellington, set to holiday jingles is one of the season's great joys. ("Wellie, the Pink-Nosed Kitty" is a big hit at parties.) The best thing that we can do for our animal companions this holiday season, though, is to keep them safe. Here are some tips:

-- Keep tinsel, ribbons, and ornament hooks away from prying paws. If you see ribbon or tinsel hanging from your animal's mouth, call the veterinarian, pronto. Never pull it out—it can cut their intestines.

-- Make sure that guests and kids don't share unapproved holiday treats with animals. Chocolate and some nuts are toxic to dogs, and even seemingly harmless foods such as onions, raisins, and grapes can cause severe reactions in dogs and cats.

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-- Plants such as holly, mistletoe, and lilies are pretty to look at, but they can make animals sick or even kill them if eaten. Keep plants well out of animals' reach—or better yet, choose other types of plants.

-- The comings and goings of guests provide opportunities for animals to slip out of the house. Have your animals microchipped (at your veterinarian's office or an animal shelter), and make sure that they wear collars and I.D. tags while guests are in the house, just in case.

-- Save the phone numbers of your veterinarian and the nearest emergency vet in your cell phone so that you're always prepared for unexpected mishaps.

-- Holidays can be hectic, but be sure not to overlook your animal companions' needs for regular walks and playtime.

-- Share the holiday spirit of giving with your animals by getting them a dog or cat gift set—they also make great stocking stuffers for the other animals in your life.

Happy holidays to you and your furry friends!