Every year thousands of pets around the country are given as gifts during the holiday season. If you are thinking about joining the tradition, please “paws” to prepare your home before bringing a furry friend home for the holidays.

Puppies and kittens are naturally curious and can turn unexpected household items – not to mention shiny, dangling ornaments – into toys. To keep your new pet and your family safe, follow this safety check list:

  • Keep electrified cords away from puppies and kittens so they don’t chew on them. Cover the cord with a heavy plastic sleeve, or ask your pet store for a bitter‐tasting product to put on the cord.
  • Halogen lamps should never be used in play areas. Halogen bulbs reach very high temperatures and, if knocked over during play, could easily start a fire.
  • Playful pets can knock radios, curling irons and other items into the water. All appliances near sinks or bathtubs  should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground‐fault circuit interrupters.
  • Do not allow pets to curl up for a nap behind a decorated tree or warm computer equipment. They need to learn to stay away from all electrical connections.
  • Avoid tinsel on your tree, which is toxic.
  • Ribbons can cause choking, particularly the thin, curling ribbon types.  Don’t put ribbons around your pet’s neck, since the ribbon can catch on objects and result in hanging.
  • A bowl of lemon peels at the base of the tree can dissuade cats or kittens from climbing and tipping over Christmas trees.  Anchoring the tree to a small hook in the ceiling can also help.
  • Some holiday plants are also toxic including holly, which can be fatal.  Mistletoe can cause heart problems and sap from poinsettias can blister your pet’s mouth. Artificial options or other non-toxic plants are safer choices.