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Avoid Holiday Hazards: Keep Your Pets Safe and Secure

Guidelines from the Pet Experts at North Shore Animal League America

Press Contacts

Media & Communications Department
Phone: (516) 883-7900, Ext. 482
Mobile: (516) 528-7878

December 12, 2013 (Port Washington, NY) - Here are some noteworthy tips from pet experts at North Shore Animal League America, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, on keeping your best friends happy and safe during the winter holiday stretch.

  • Candles or any open-flame objects should be kept far out of your pets' reach and never left unattended. That tempting flicker may attract pets, putting them at risk for burns – or the worst-case scenario – knocking it over and starting a fire.
  • Shimmering tinsel is a huge temptation for pets, especially cats. Ingesting tinsel or ribbons can not only lead to stomach aches, but it can get wrapped around our pets' intestines causing major problems which may require surgical intervention. Wrapping paper and glass ornaments may also pose threats. If eaten, these can cause depression, stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. Glass ornaments can cause internal bleeding if shards make internal cuts. So be certain to keep these items out of your pets' reach.
  • Holiday trees can be problematic. If not properly secured, a curious kitty or peeping pooch can knock it over. Water from your holiday tree can also pose problems, so keep it covered. Often, tree water may contain fertilizers or preservatives which can lead to stomach upset. Pine needles are also dangerous if swallowed as they are sharp and have the potential to puncture intestines.
  • Holly, evergreens and mistletoe are common holiday plants that are toxic to your pets. Poinsettia, though not truly poisonous, can cause gastric upset if its sap is ingested. Use good judgment in placing these plants.
  • Electrical cords are another potential holiday hazard. Chewing on them can deliver a harmful jolt, burns, abnormal heartbeat and in worse-case scenarios, death. It's best to have all cords secured and out of the way.
  • Remember that people food and beverages can upset pets' stomachs and some can even cause major illness or death. Keep fatty foods like turkey or ham down to a minimum and totally avoid onions, onion powder, grapes, raisins and chocolate. Best rule of thumb is to keep people food and beverages for people.

Learn more about pet health and safety and pet adoptions and how you can help North Shore Animal League America by visiting

North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at, follow us at To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit

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