'Tis the season to deck the halls and trim the tree, but the American Kennel Club. warns pet owners of the dangers that lurk among many of the season’s shiny ornaments and festive decorations. To keep your holidays free from emergency visits to the vet, the AKC offers the following tips to dog-proof your home from potential hazards.
• Avoid using food, such as popcorn or cranberry strands, as decorations. When eaten, these tasty trimmings can cause blockages, which often require surgery to remove.
• Stay away from shiny ornaments, such as tinsel and glass bulbs. Use plastic ties instead of wire hooks to attach ornaments and place items that sparkle, or could be swallowed or broken high up on your tree. Larger, less intriguing ornaments can go near the bottom.
• When decorating with holiday lights, remember that exposed indoor or outdoor wires could electrocute a curious canine that chews on it. Tape wires to the wall or sides of the house.
• Real Christmas trees pose numerous threats to dogs, so consider an artificial tree. If you do buy a natural tree, make sure your pup doesn’t swallow the pine needles. Dogs also find the tree water tempting, so be sure to use pet-friendly preservatives in the water.
• Plants such as poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets and should be kept out of reach.
— Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at www.akc.org.