Guest column: Best Friend’s advice on keeping pets safe through holidays

Snow dog (Adobe Stock)

Snow dog (Adobe Stock)

As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to be aware that human holiday traditions such as food, decorations and plants that may seem harmless can be dangerous and even life-threatening to dogs and cats.

Best Friends Animal Society offers the following tips to keep your dogs and cats safe during this holiday season:

• Be aware that increased noise and lights can cause stress. If your pet seems agitated, turn down the music or consider placing your pet in a quiet, calm room with dim lighting.

• Curb the tendency to give your dog or cat human food. Any change in your pets' diet may give them indigestion, diarrhea or worse. Foods that people should avoid giving their pets include chocolate, grapes, onions, poultry bones, eggnog, and fruitcake.

• Dispose of food trash in an outside receptable as soon as possible.

• Holiday plants such as lilies, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are known to be toxic to pets and should be kept out of reach.

• The water a Christmas tree sits in is a breeding ground for bacteria and can be extremely harmful to pets. Keep water covered with a thick skirt so pets can’t get into it.

• Tape electrical cords safely to the wall and make sure that all electrical connections, batteries, and outlets are concealed.

• Tinsel, ribbon, metal hooks, plastic and glass can obstruct or perforate the intestine if ingested. Use an alternative such as paper and hang decorations out of reach from your pet.

• Quickly dispose of wrapping paper, packages and bows after opening presents and put children’s toys out of reach of pets after playtime to avoid accidental ingestion.

• Make sure your pets' identification and microchip are up to date in case anyone inadvertently leaves the door open during your holiday celebration.

• Be sure any toys gifted to pets are safe. Among the most familiar hazards are choking and stomach obstruction. Pieces as well as particles may be ingested, and since our pups use their mouths to play, toxic materials and coatings also pose a risk. Make sure pet gifts are appropriate for the size and type of pet and supervise playtime.

Dr. Courtney Moore, Veterinarian at Valley Veterinary Clinic in Farmington, New Mexico said, “Gifts to avoid this holiday season are rawhide, hooves, or pig ears. If you cannot dent the surface of it with your fingernail, your dog shouldn’t be chewing on it.”

She also pointed out, “If your pet is in medication make sure to get them refilled a few days prior to the holiday weekend. This is to give the staff extra time to fill the prescriptions with the increased demand of the holiday season.”

Keeping an eye on pets around the holidays and making sure they stay safe is important to ensure the holiday season is happy and healthy for our furry family members.

Please visit Best Friends Animal Society at for pet care information.

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