The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association is offering up these pet safety tips for the holidays, especially when hosting parties and decorating.

  • Keep people food and beverages (especially cocktails) out of the reach of your pet. Ask your guests to do the same.
  • Make sure your pet doesn’t have any access to treats, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, grapes/raisins, onions or other toxic foods. Turkey bones, which can easily splinter, are off limits.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in the room with lit candles, a decorated tree or potpourri.
  • Keep holiday plants (especially holly, lilies, mistletoe and poinsettias) out of reach of pets.
  • Consider leaving the tinsel off your tree if you have a cat.
  • Secure your Christmas tree to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat climbs it; hanging lemon-scented car air fresheners in the tree may deter your cat from climbing it.
  • Caution when using electrical cords, which may cause electrical shock capable of causing terrible burns and even death.
  • If your pet is excitable or scared when you have company, consider putting your pet in another room with some of his/her toys, a comfortable bed, etc. or providing a safe place for your pet to escape the excitement (such as a kennel, crate, perching place, scratching post shelf or hiding place). Same goes for excessive noise, which may frighten your pet.
  • Do not give a pet as a gift. Sadly, many puppies and kittens that are given as holiday surprise gifts wind up in shelters.

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.