Holiday Pet Safety

Holiday Pet Safety

Most families consider their pets part of their family, and we love sharing holidays with family. But many holiday traditions can be harmful to our four-legged family members. The American Kennel Club provides these tips:

  • Avoid decorating with food, like popcorn or cranberry strands, because they can cause upset stomachs if eaten by your pets.
  • Be aware of the pet hazards of Christmas trees. Don’t let your pet drink the water in a natural tree stand, which can cause stomach irritation or contain poisonous plant food. Also place sparkly ornaments that can catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where they can’t be reached, because eating one can cause major problems. You may want to consider putting a gate around the tree if you have a persistent pet.
  • Some of the holiday foods that humans love can make our pets ill. Keep them away from chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat and candy.

The Animal Poison Control Hotline reminds us that: “While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated…medical treatment is rarely necessary unless clinical signs are severe.” Still, you’ll want to avoid the “mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea” that can occur when it’s ingested, so keep these and other holiday plants out of reach of pets.

More Pet Safety Articles:

Pet Fire Safety

Be Safe With Your Pet

See Prevention 1st’s Poison Control Resources for What To Do If Your Cat Gets Poisoned and other tips.

More Holiday Safety Articles:

Company’s Coming: How to Stay Safe During the Season of Visitors

Safely Lighting the Holidays

July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day

July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day

If you’ve watched even one of those pet video your friends keep posting, you know that pets can do amazing things, from opening the refrigerator to riding a skate board. But did you know that pets accidentally start almost 1,000 home fires every year?

Stoves and cook tops are involved in the largest number of fires started by pets, which may jump up on them—or on you while you’re cooking—to get at food. Just as you establish a “kid-free zone” around the stove when cooking, establish one for pets. Enlist your children’s help in keeping pets away, or use a baby gate to confine them in a different area while you’re cooking.

Even after turning off the burners, don’t leave tempting food on the stove top unattended. In at least one incident reported by the American Kennel Club (AKC) ®, a curious dog accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner, starting a fire that filled the house with smoke.

The AKC offers these tips to keep your pet from starting a fire and for keeping them safe if a fire does happen at home:

 Don’t leave your pet unattended around an open flame of any kind. Pets are curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace.

Consider flameless candles, which use a light bulb instead of an open flame. Pets have started fires when their tails overturned lit candles.

Don’t leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays, filtered through the glass and water, can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck.

While you’re not at home:

Keep pets near entrances. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.

Secure young pets, especially young puppies, away from potential fire-starting hazards, in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Learn more ways to Be Safe With Your Pet.

Be Safe With Your Pet

Be Safe With Your Pet

Pets are great companions, and some studies indicate that owning one may lengthen your life. But be careful they don’t land you in the hospital. An average of 240 people are treated in emergency departments every day for injuries from falls involving dogs or cats.

Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States.

A review of data by the CDC found that an estimated average of 86,629 of fall injuries treated in EDs each year were associated with cats and dogs. Moreover, the actual number of injuries likely was underestimated because the data did not include injuries that did not receive medical attention, or were treated in physician offices or other outpatient settings.

The most common injuries and the highest injury rates were for fractures and contusions/abrasions. Females were more than twice as likely to be injured as males. Injuries were most frequent among persons aged 0-14 years and 35-54 years, but the highest fracture rates occurred among persons aged 75-84 years and over 85 years.

The majority of fall injuries occurred inside or in the immediate environment outside the home. Nearly 88% of injuries were associated with dogs. Twenty-six percent of falls involving dogs occurred while persons were walking them, and the most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a dog (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by a dog (21.2%). Falling over a pet item (e.g., a toy or food bowl) accounted for 8.8% of fall injuries.

The CDC noted that dog and cat ownership is increasing in the United States in concert with a rising population of older persons, in whom injuries might have the greatest health consequences.

The CDC encouraged obedience training for dogs to minimize behaviors associated with falls (e.g., pushing or pulling). Learn the ASPCA’s recommendations here.

The full Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study is published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).