The best present you can give your pets during the holiday season is good health. Follow these safety tips to keep your
four-footed friends happy and healthy through the New Year!
Food is often the number one holiday hazard for companion animals. Do not feed turkey or chicken bones to your pets.
Bones splinter easily and can cause choking. Chocolate, coffee, tea and alcohol all contain dangerous ingredients which
cause serious illness. Secure garbage in bins with pet-proof lids or store trash behind locked doors. Remind guests not to
give your pets treats from the dinner table.
When decorating for the holidays, place lights and ornaments in safe places. Avoid glass ornaments, and be aware that your
pet may eat tinsel or other decorations. Secure trees to a wall to prevent tipping, and use a screen around the base to block
access to water in tree stands, electrical cords, and gifts. Read labels on products such as tree water preservatives and
artificial snow, and buy only non-toxic products.
Do not leave paper, ribbon or tape out after you have wrapped presents. Gift-wrap and accessories can cause choking,
upset stomach or even more serious problems. Display candles on high shelves and use fireplace screens to avoid singed
whiskers and painful burns. Keep items such as tablecloths and table runners from hanging too low to the ground. Tuck or
tape electrical cords to keep out of your pet’s reach.
Holly, poinsettias, mistletoe and other poisonous plants are best kept away from inquisitive four-footed friends. Ingestion
of the leaves and berries can cause diarrhea, convulsions, and in some cases even death.
Please do not give a pet as a gift unless you are sure the person will care for the animal. Give a gift certificate so the
recipient can choose his or her own pet after the holidays. If you are thinking about getting a new pet for yourself,
remember animals need routine and a time to bond with you. With the noise, commotion and special hazards around
the holidays, consider getting your new pet after the New Year. If you decide to welcome a furry friend into your home this holiday season, give the gift of life to a homeless animal and adopt your next pet from the local animal shelter.
These tips are brought to you by the Prince William County Animal Advisory Committee (AAC). The mission of the AAC is to help improve the quality of life of companion animals in the county.