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Keeping Your Pets Safe

Dec 23, 2007
No family wants to hear that their pet has been injured and the unwelcome news that a pet has died can be heartbreaking for a young child. Keeping pets safe during the holiday season will take the efforts of everyone that visits the home, because pets have the tendency to wander and stray from the home they grew up in. Most families will consider boarding a pet during the holidays to keep it safe from harm.

As holiday decorations are brought out, there are certain areas that should be closely examined to ensure pets will be safe. A pet might know by instinct to avoid fire, but they might not realize the damage that could occur from logs that have been placed in the fireplace. Fire logs pose a great danger to pets because they have a tendency to shift while burning. House pets such as cats like to snuggle next to fireplaces when they nap and may realize too late that embers from the fire have escaped from the fireplace. Pet owners should ensure that fire screens are in place at all times.

When pets are allowed outdoors without any supervision, pets might be exposed to dangers that may seem harmless to humans. Cats and dogs love to sniff and explore the wide, open spaces in the backyard and may encounter harmful poisons in many parts of the yard. Homeowners should secure anti-freeze in a locked container or store it in a shed that cannot be accessed by animals of any kind. Anti-freeze is a flavorful mixture that pets will drink and drinking it will prove to be deadly in a short time.

The access areas where an animal roams in the yard might have ornamental vegetation growing that is toxic to pets. A pet owner should consider very carefully the types of trees that are planted on the property because some will prove deadly to cats, and children can become sick from continued exposure to them too. The aromatic benefits of cedar trees might work well inside the home if mulched and placed in sachet holders, but these pillows of fragrance should never be allowed to be used as a play toy by an indoor animal.

Some of the dangers will come from Christmas holly and potted poinsettia plants that were received as Christmas gifts from a neighbor. The leaves of poinsettia plants are poisonous to cats and dogs and should be kept out of reach at all times. Fresh Christmas trees have pine needles that could prove toxic to a pet that chews a branch in the middle of the night. A homeowner should place wire barriers around fir trees and junipers and gather mistletoe that has fallen to the ground.

The winter months will bring low temperatures, and animals will feel the change especially at night. To keep outdoor pets safe from the harsh climates during the wintertime, it is imperative that they be provided with an insulated shelter to sleep in at night and keep them safe and dry during the daytime and when it is raining, sleeting or snowing outside. The shelter should accommodate the size and number of animals that will be using it.

Dog owners should ensure that an extra ration of food is included in the daily diet during the winter months. This extra food ration will help accommodate the nutritional needs that dogs have because their bodies require extra calories to be burned every time their body generates heat to keep warm. This consumption of body fuels will be noticeably more in animals who are overweight or those whose coats are not designed for extreme temperatures.
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