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‘Tis the Season—to be Careful!

While most people look forward to the holiday season, the same isn’t necessarily true for our pets. From scary costumes on Halloween to an abundance of table scraps at Thanksgiving, this is a time for extra caution when pets are around. And let’s not forget sparkly decorations and even fireworks—there’s a lot to be aware of especially if this is your first holiday season with a pet. For helpful information on how to keep your pet safe, read more.

Safety Tips for the Holidays

  • Keep your pet indoors on Halloween night! This is especially important for black cats, who can be targeted during the holiday. Also, make sure your pets are microchipped or have a collar with current identification in case they get scared and run off.
  • Careful with the turkey and trimmings! Turkey skin, gravy and drippings are all high in fat and can cause pancreatitis in pets. If your pet is allergic to poultry, make sure the turkey is absolutely out of reach.
  • Bones like turkey, chicken, ribs, pork or fish splinter easily and are a choking hazard. They can also cause serious internal damage if swallowed. Never give them to your pet.
  • Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, currants, macadamia nuts and walnuts are all on the naughty list for pets. And paws off sweets like candied yams, breads, cake and cookies.
  • Remind children not to share candy with pets or leave foil-covered chocolates in places where curious pets can get to them.
  • Beware of xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum, candy and peanut butter), which can cause illness and even death.
  • Keep pets away from holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies, which are highly toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Cats love to play with ribbons, strings and sticks, but if ingested, they can become caught in the intestinal tract. Potpourri also contains herbs and oils that can be toxic.
  • Keep sparkly decorations like tinsel, small spinning dreidels and other game pieces out of the reach of felines. They’re very attracted to moving, shiny things and you don’t want them ingesting these objects.
  • Secure your tree to a doorway or strong drapery pole with fishing line to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat tries to climb it. If you have a menorah, be sure to place it in a secure spot well out of reach of pets and wagging tails, especially once lit.
  • Cover and secure electrical cords for lights—pets can suffer serious injury and electrocution from chewing on them. Inexpensive rubber covers can be purchased at hardware stores.

Contact us immediately at (631) 723-0500 or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your pet has ingested something harmful.