Protect your pets during the holidays

Protect your pets during the holidays

November 14th, 2011 by Karen Nazor Hill in Life Entertainment

If pet owners follow certain safety precautions, the holidays can be enjoyable for pets, too.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.


With nighttime temperatures dipping, the Humane Educational Society has begun a cold-weather blanket drive. Any type of bedding, as well as rugs and towels are requested to help keep the animals warm. HES, 212 N. Highland Park Ave., is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays. Donations may be left in the breezeway if the center is not open. For more information, call 624-5302 or visit

Holiday celebrations can pose threats to pets, whether through dangerous foods and decorations or the disruption of routine.

"There are many dangers, and we must be responsible guardians and take extra precautions to ensure their safety," said Karen Lillard Roach, director at DoGood for a Dog Friendly Chattanooga.

To make sure your dogs enjoy the holidays too, she said, make sure to give them the attention they are accustomed to receiving. Be sure your dogs are walked regularly, get the rest they need and have access to their toys and bed.

And because pets can easily slip outside when people are coming and going, be sure your pets always wear their collars and tags.

Roach offers additional tips for protecting your pets during the holidays.

• Flowers and greenery: Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, greenery and berries can be fatal to your pets. "If you have a live Christmas tree," Roach said, "make sure your pets cannot get to the water and drink it -- it could be harmful."

• Decorations: Ornament hooks, tinsel, glass ornaments, angel hair garlands and other manmade materials can be fatal if ingested.

• Electric light strands: Unplug them when you are not at home. Dogs can get tangled in cords or receive an electrical shock if they chew them.

• People food: Human food, especially during the holidays, is high in fats, and some can cause illness and even death in pets. Particularly toxic to your animals are grapes, raisins, avocado, spices and seasonings, Macadamia nuts, chocolate and artificial sweeteners.

• Food gifts: Dogs can sniff these out under the tree, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

• Trash: Carry it out often to prevent pets from ingesting dangerous foods or packaging.

• Medications: These can be a problem with guests who may not realize the danger of leaving pills or even pill bottles accessible to pets, such as in a purse on the floor or on a nightstand.