During the cold weather months keeping pets safe is a major concern for pet owners. Banfield, The Pet Hospital of Tualatin offers these suggestions to keep your pets healthy and happy.

n Keep pets inside during cold weather. To prevent wind chill and frostbite from affecting your pets, keep them warm and indoors whenever possible.

n It's a common holiday belief that poinsettias are toxic. Pets may get an upset stomach from eating a few leaves, but they would need to ingest a large amount to cause toxicity. Putting all holiday plants out of reach as a preventive safety measure is always recommended.

n Amaryllis and paper whites are common holiday plants that are toxic to pets and must be kept out of reach.

n Pet escapes occur more often during the holiday months when they may be overstressed or frightened by changes in routine and activity. Putting everything needed in a quiet room or area of the house to give the pet a safe retreat when needed. Remember to keep an eye on the entrances and exits of your home in order to keep your pets from escaping. Ensure that your pets have properly fitting collars with identification tags that include up to date contact information. Consider including both your home and cell numbers on the tag.

n Remember that pets can smell food and wrapped gifts under the tree. Several holiday foods can be dangerous to your pet, but a few of the most dangerous are chocolate, poultry fat and bones, grapes, raisins, sugar-free gum and candy containing xylitol.

n Tinsel, ribbon and string can be attractive to pets and are dangerous because they can be ingested and become stuck in the intestinal tract. Be sure to keep lit candles away from wagging tails.

n Regular antifreeze has a sweet taste than can be fatal if ingested. Even a few licks can put your pet's life in jeopardy. If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested any antifreeze, take him to your veterinarian immediately. Use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene (instead of ethylene) glycol, which won't hurt pets, wildlife or family.

Submitted by Banfield

Pet Hospital

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