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Keeping pets safe during the holidays

“Today” pet expert Warren Eckstein explains how to keep your pet safe as you deck the halls.
/ Source: TODAY

With decorations galore and an influx of family and friends during the holidays, your house could suddenly become a dangerous place for your pet. “Today” pet expert Warren Eckstein explains how to keep your pet safe and out of harm’s way as you deck the halls.

Dangerous foods
Turkey and other types of bones can be very dangerous choking hazards; this time of year the number of pets brought to the vet dramatically increases.

Be sure to keep holiday chocolates out of reach. It contains theobromine, which can be particularly toxic to pets.

It’s also easy to over-feed your pet during the holiday season with table scraps and guests who may easily be tempted to succumb to your pet’s begging.

Dangerous plants Poinsettias and mistletoe can be deadly for your cat or dog when eaten so make sure they are out of their reach.

Christmas tree — Pets, particularly cats, get interested in trees and can knock them down. Make sure your tree is well-secured, tied to a banister or railing. Also avoid using tinsel when decorating your tree and home, it can get stuck in your pet’s throat and cause them to choke.

If you are using a live tree, do not add chemical preservatives or Asprin to the water — it could be toxic if your pet drinks it. If you receive a plant as a gift and you’re not sure if it could be dangerous, ask at your local garden store or vet to find out its effect on your pet.

Holiday decorations
Glass ornaments, particularly if they are placed low on a tree, are tempting for some pets to play with. If they shatter, they can draw blood so be sure to move them as high as possible on the tree.

The bulbs of Christmas tree lights can shatter and cause injury. Remember to put only non-breakable items at the bottom of the tree.

Your pets may also try to chew or claw the electrical cords. Keep your eye on your pet, tape the cords down and use chemical deterrents like “best behavior” or “bitter apple.”

Fire
If you are celebrating Hanukkah, make sure the menorah candles are in an area where pets cannot get to them and accidentally knock them over. This goes for all holiday candles.

Be careful with your fireplace as well. There’s nothing like a roaring fire on a cool night, but if you intend to use your fireplace or wood-burning stove use a protective screen to prevent your pets from being singed.

If you are planning to clean your house be sure to keep household chemicals out of your pets’ reach.

With a lot of people coming and going, often people who are not used to having pets around, be sure you know where your pets are all the time. In addition, with all the decorations and upheaval in the house pets can more easily get trapped in an unfamiliar place like a closet or cabinet.