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Pet Holiday Hazards


The holiday season brings added dangers for family pets.

From ribbons and wrapping paper to ornaments, extension cords and plates of food, it is important to be aware of these holiday hazards.

Here are 5 things to be on the lookout for and keep your furry friends safe this season.

1. Table scraps

Leftover food can be harmful to dogs and cats.

“Although people are feeling festive and they may want to share the festivities with their pets, it’s never a good idea to feed pets table food. Turkey and ham bones are especially harmful as they can get lodged in the pet’s throat or stomach,” said Sandy Hafenbrack, owner of Critter Sitters Pet Sitting Service, LLC in Sugar Grove.

2. Chocolate

Although chocolate is not immediately fatal as widely believed, it is toxic to dogs in large amounts. Chocolate stimulates the nervous system and the heart, causing agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate and seizures.

3. Tinsel

These shiny decorations are very tempting - especially for cats. If swallowed, tinsel and other decorations such as ribbon can cut up the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.

“Oh how cats love to play with those shiny bits of tinsel! However, once the cat swallows it, it can cause a blockage in the stomach that may require emergency surgery,” Hafenbrack said.

4. Christmas tree

If you have a real tree, don’t add fertilizer to the tree water, and keep pets away from stagnant water in the tree base. Be sure the tree is properly secured, and fragile ornaments are kept off low-hanging branches.

5. Lost pets

With guests entering and exiting your home frequently during the holidays, there is increased opportunity for your pet to slip out and get lost. If you travel with your pet, they will be unfamiliar with their surroundings. Make sure your pets have their tags on and are microchipped.

Hafenbrack also recommends containing them in a bedroom if you are expecting company.

Critter Sitters Pet Sitting Service, LLC: