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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 20, 2008

Make sure pet has safe holiday

Hawaiian Humane Society

There are many things that owners can do to make this holiday a pet's favorite. A pet's peace and joy this season starts by simply being mindful of where hazards may lurk.

Your Christmas tree may be the family's much-loved centerpiece but it can also be a magnet for trouble when it comes to your frisky pets. Tree water preservative or an aspirin may lengthen the life of your tree but shorten the life of your pet. It's best to forego the preservative if you cannot ensure that your pet won't have access. Keeping pine needles swept up can help to ensure they're not ingested, as they can puncture a pet's intestines.

It's also wise to be mindful of what may be under the tree as well. Coffee and chocolate can be a fatal attraction. Your pet's sense of smell is much more sophisticated than ours so he knows what's beneath the pretty wrapping when it comes to food items. So if you suspect that food may be wrapped and under the tree, relocate packages to a safe place.

There are a number of methods to deter pets from viewing your tree as the hub for fun. Limiting access to the area is your best bet. Placing aluminum foil, bubble wrap, or balloons around the area can also be a deterrent.

Poinsettias have long been rumored to be deadly to pets. While they can cause a major tummy ache, they're not as poisonous as once was thought. On the other hand, lilies are highly toxic. Other things that can wreak havoc on your pet's digestive system are table scraps and gravy. Both are often fatty and salty and can mean indigestion for your pets.

While it's certainly entertaining to watch your feline bat at tinsel, this and other stringy items should be kept out of reach. Even snow globes, which frequently contain antifreeze, are best placed in a location where a cat can't push it off a ledge.

The extra cords and plugs of holiday lights and other fixtures can look like chew toys to pets. Tape down or cover cords to help avoid shocks, burns or other serious injuries. Unplug lights when you are not home.

Being mindful of these hazards can ensure a pet-friendly holiday season. And remember, pets can never get enough attention and exercise. A tired pet is less likely to fixate on creating entertainment out of your holiday decor.