As it does each year, the LA Department of Animal Services has passed along some good tips to help ensure both you and your furry family members stay safe during this hectic holiday period:
1. Beware of holiday décor. Our beloved pets often see these festive décor as something to eat or play with, but which can be very dangerous to them:
- Tinsel. If consumed, can cause intestinal blockage, while breakable ornaments and other glass decorations can cause injuries. Place tinsel and fragile decorations up high and out of reach from your pet.
- Electric lights and wires. If cords are chewed upon, can cause burns.
- Christmas Trees. If you put up a Christmas tree, consider tying it down to a door frame so your pet doesn’t tip it over. If the tree is real, keep the water covered and inaccessible because the water may contain fertilizer and other harmful chemicals.
2. Watch out for these flowers and festive plants. You probably worry over poinsettias making your pets sick, and the truth is that these festive plants only cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation. However, there are other seasonal foliage that you should be more wary of such as amaryllis, holly, lilies, and mistletoe that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them.
3. Keep away holiday feasts. We have a tendency to share our holiday meals with our pets, which often results in overindulgence. Even when we don’t purposely include them, the agile and creative dog or cat can capture a special treat from the kitchen counter, trash, or even the dining room table. Dogs and cats can suffer very serious and sometimes fatal consequences from turkey or chicken bones, consuming too much rich and fatty foods, yeast dough, chocolate and from just plain overeating. Instead of giving your companion animal leftovers, stop by a pet food store and purchase some new dog biscuits or cat treats.
4. Keep away from noisemakers. While celebrating, it is easy to forget that loud noises and celebratory poppers or noisemakers can scare your furry friend. Even if your pet doesn’t seem obviously upset by noisemakers and fireworks, they can still cause harm to pets if burned or if they accidentally ingest them. Try creating a safe place in your home where your pet can have some quiet space if needed.
5. Plan ahead. If you are not going to be home with your pet, unplug decorations, and take out the trash to make sure your pet doesn’t sneak any food scraps. If your pet is not acting like themselves, consult your veterinarian and make sure you know how to get to your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before there’s an emergency.
6. Always make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. If for any reason your pet escapes during the holiday hubbub, a collar with a current license and/or ID tag on them and a microchip that’s registered with your contact information, will help reunite you with your companion animal.
“By keeping these precautions in mind,” says the Department’s message, “the holiday season can be enjoyable and safe instead of stressful for you and your two and four-legged family members.”
And, finally, the Department reminds us that if you don’t have a furry friend to spend the holidays with, but would like one, you can always visit any of the six LA Animal Services Centers (and, yes, they’re still open today!) for a special Holiday Adoption Event with reduced adoption fees on all dogs and puppies, and waived adoption fees on all cats and kittens. (Note that you can also view photos of all available pets before you visit.)