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Pet Sitters International offers tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday for pets | Pets

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Pet Sitters International offers tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday for pets
Pet Sitters International offers tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday for pets

The holiday season is a joyous time of year for many families, but joy can turn to tragedy if pet owners don’t take simple precautions to ensure the safety of their pets.

This holiday season, Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational organization for professional pet sitters, advises pet owners to consider their pets when decorating and sharing holiday treats.

“Simple holiday traditions, such as trimming the tree and decorating the house, can pose potential problems to pets if not monitored carefully,” warns PSI President Patti J. Moran.

Much like toddlers, pets are attracted to bright lights, shining ornaments and dangling tinsel, and pet owners should be aware that many holiday decorations can be hazardous to their pets.

To ensure a happy and safe holiday season for pets, PSI recommends pet owners keep these decoration safety tips in mind:

  • Christmas trees add beauty to the home, but pine tree water can be poisonous, so it is best to use an enclosed tree stand. If that is not possible, be sure to cover open tree stand bases. Make sure that the tree is secured to the wall with strong wire or twine, because a toppling tree can cause serious injuries to dogs and cats.
  • Ornaments and hooks, twinkling lights and electrical wiring pose significant danger to pets by ingestion or contact. When no one will be around to supervise, unplug lights and any electrical decorations a pet has access to. Cover or tack down electrical cords.
  • Holiday plants that are poisonous to pets include the berries of the mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, Christmas roses and the poinsettia. Keep these plants out of pets’ reach.

Food is another culprit for some of the most common holiday pet emergencies.

PSI recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:

  • Dark and baker’s chocolate. While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause a pet to have an upset stomach. On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine. Animals are extremely sensitive to both, and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.
  • Xylitol. This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly. This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs experience severe weakness in their back legs, appearing paralyzed, after ingesting macadamia nuts. Dogs usually recover from this condition within three days.
  • Bread dough. When bread dough is ingested it continues to rise, causing an intestinal blockage.

If a pet ingests any potentially harmful product, pet owners should call a veterinarian or a local emergency animal hospital immediately.

PSI offers one final tip this holiday season: If holiday errands or trips will keep pet owners away from home, professional pet sitters offer the best pet-care solution—but pet owners should book without delay. Many pet sitters get booked up weeks before major holidays.

To learn more about PSI, visit www.petsit.com.


 Laura Stauffiger is the proprietor of Laura’s Critter Care, LLC, an in your home pet sitting, dog walking and house sitting service that services Erie and Niagara Counties, and is also a member of Pet Sitters International .  For more information visit her website or send an Email. 


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