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Editorial

Casper Critters


Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holidays



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11/01/2010 - By Gayle M. Irwin

It's hard to believe the year is quickly fading, like an autumn sunset disappearing on the horizon. Halloween recently convened and Thanksgiving and Christmas beckon on the calendar. Pets often are forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the holidays; make it a point to remember your pet and help keep him/her safe this holiday season. Here are some tips:

1. Be aware of where your pets are as you and your family and friends come and go. Pets can zip out doors very quickly. You may want to put your pet in an extra bedroom or the laundry room if you expect your door to be opening and closing a lot on a particular day.

2. Make sure your pets have collar and ID tags in case they rush out the door and become lost. ID tags are vital to getting your pet returned home quickly. You may also want to invest the small amount of money it costs for your vet to implant a microchip. Collar and tags can become lost themselves, and pets turned into the local animal shelter are scanned for microchips. Also, remember keep that identification up-to-date.

3. Food is a prime part of the holiday season. However, there are many people food items that are health hazards for our pets. For example, don't give your pets turkey or chicken bones or rich foods like gravy or sweets such as chocolate. Keep your pets' food routine the same during the holidays as 'regular days' thereby avoiding upset stomachs or worse.

4. Decorations are also a part of the holiday season, but can cause issues for our pets. Garland and tinsel, for example, entice cats and may be ingested creating health concerns. Candles can be knocked over by either people or pets. Therefore, when using decorations, choose those that pose less danger to your pets and your household in general.

5. Similarly, some plants pose health hazards for our pets, including mistletoe and poinsettia. Keep these out of your pets reach or consider purchasing artificial ones.

6. The excitement, busyness and stress we experience during the holidays, as well as the extra people in the house during Thanksgiving and Christmas, can also stress our pets. Create a quiet place for your dog or cat to go and get away from the hustle and bustle. Set up a room in the house away from the noise that has things with which your pet is familiar: your pet's bed or special blanket, its toys, and its food and water dishes. Our pets need a peaceful place where they are comfortable and secure as we are milling around doing all those things that make the holidays special!

7. Don't neglect your dog's daily walk and your cat's playful exercise. Our pets need their daily routine, not just for emotional stability, but also for their overall physical health just like we do!

8. After returning from a walk, clean your dog's paws of the ice, snow and other materials picked up along the way. Snow and ice can be painful on pet paws, and material such as ice melt for sidewalks may be ingested by your pet as s/he cleans itself, causing medical issues. Do the paw cleaning for your pet for better safeguards.

9. Also, remember that anti-freeze poisons to pets, so keep your pets away from it.

By following these tips, you and your pet will more greatly enjoy the holiday season!

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Gayle Irwin is a freelance writer as well as a former journalist and conservation and humane educator. The author of two children's books, Sage's Big Adventure (2007) and Sage Learns to Share (2009), she is also a speaker in schools and libraries. Her publication credits include a story Chicken Soup for the Soul: Lessons Learned from the Dog (Sept. 2009) and a story in the Chicken Soup edition Devotions for Mothers (Oct. 2010). For more information, including how to purchase her heart-warming stories, visit www.gaylemirwin.com.

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