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No chocolate for Fido: How to keep your pets safe over the holidays
The BC SPCA has released a list of tips to help pet owners keep their furry friends safe over the holiday season. (BC SPCA)
VANCOUVER -- From poisonous plants to tiny ornaments, it can be complicated decorating your home for the holidays while navigating the minefield of items that can be dangerous or even deadly for pets.
The BC SPCA has released some tips to make sure your furry friends enjoy the holidays along with their humans.
Pass the kibble, hold the chocolate
While many humans find chocolate delicious, it contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to both cats and dogs, so it's best to keep these sweet treats away from your pets.
And while it can be tempting to feed Fido turkey under the table, the SPCA suggests keeping pets on their regular diets over the holidays. The agency warns that poultry bones can easily splinter and seriously injure dogs and cats, and bone fragments could even cause intestinal blockages or lacerations.
"Avoid giving bones to your dogs or cats, particularly turkey bones," said the SPCA in a statement. "Keeping your garbage out of your pet's reach is also key."
Holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper and Christmas rose are all poisonous to animals and should be kept away from pets, especially birds. But one ubiquitous piece of Christmas décor that's commonly believed to be poisonous is actually not deadly for pets, according to the SPCA.
"Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or people," said the agency. "However, some pets may have a sensitivity."
If you have a real Christmas tree at home and use chemicals to treat the water to help it last longer, that can also pose a hazard to pets. The SPCA suggests keeping the water covered so pets can't access it.
Trimming the tree
It's a good idea to make sure your Christmas tree is well-secured and that decorations are placed above paw height to ensure curious pets don't end up knocking the entire thing over or ripping ornaments down.
"Using strings to hang decorations instead of hooks can help, as hooks can easily become dislodged," said the SPCA.
Decorating your tree with tinsel and angel hair might look beautiful, but both can cause intestinal pain for animals if eaten. Light cords should also be tucked away since they are tempting to chew, especially for puppies and kittens.
The SPCA also suggests avoiding pet toys with small or soft pieces that can be chewed or swallowed.
"You should be inspecting your pet's toys regularly and discarding deteriorating ones," said the agency.