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.

For more information, visit www.gvma.net.

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.