from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals



For many of us, 'tis the season to decorate our homes with live Christmas trees and holiday greenery. But did you know that some of these yuletide traditions can be hazardous to your pet's health?

 Lovely lilies are commonly used in holiday floral arrangements, but many varieties - including Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and the Casa Blanca - can cause kidney failure in cats.

  Bag the boughs of holly and live mistletoe. Sure, they add a nice touch to your holiday decor, but holly can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested by your pet. And should he eat mistletoe, he could suffer gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Opt instead for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic.

  Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria - and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

If you suspect that your animal companion has eaten a potentially toxic substance, call your veterinarian.


For more holiday poison prevention tips, please visit ASPCA online.


And here are some cold weather tips from the Ottawa Humane Society
more information on their website:


Cold Weather Tips for Pets

Just because animals have built in fur coats doesnít mean they are immune to the harsh realities of a Canadian winter. With a bit of thoughtful planning, your best friend will be warm and safe when the snowflakes fly.

Here are some tips for animal care in cold weatherÖ

Limit exposure: When the mercury plunges, exercise caution and limit your petís exposure to the outdoors.

Salt: While the salt used on roads and driveways is helpful in preventing spills, it can irritate the sensitive pads on the bottom of your petís feet. Keep a towel by your front door and wipe down your poochís paws after a walk so they arenít tempted to lick them clean.

Fresh water: If you keep any water bowls outside for your animals during the winter, be sure to check the supply a few times a day to ensure it isnít frozen over.

Car engines: Cats and wildlife are drawn to the heat generated by your carís engine on cold days. Make sure you bang on your carís hood and honk the horn to avoid injuring a sleeping creature.

Antifreeze: The taste of antifreeze is tasty to many animals, and theyíll readily consume it if given the chance. But even a small amount of antifreeze can be harmful, or even fatal, to your pet.

When adding antifreeze to your vehicle, pour carefully and clean up any spills that may occur. Itís also a good idea to check that your car isnít leaking fluid. A quick look under the hood will help keep your own animals, and those in the neighbourhood, safe.

If your pet does come in contact with antifreeze ó either by ingesting it directly, or by licking exposed paws ó you should be looking for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, unconsciousness, drooling and panting. If you suspect antifreeze ingestion, itís important to act quickly, as the poisoning can cause kidney failure. Call your veterinarian immediately to avoid complications.

You may want to consider a less toxic alternative to the ethylene glycol-based antifreeze that is most commonly used. There is new propylene glycol-based antifreeze available at many retail outlets that is safer for pets and humans alike.

Entertain wisely: The winter season is a peak time for at-home parties and other get-togethers. It may be a good idea to keep animals away from the bustle and noise during a party. If everyone does mingle together, keep an eye on your pets to make sure they donít sneak any of the festive food and drink.

Identification:  Having an animal run away from home at any time of the year is troublesome, but especially during the winter season. Make sure your best friends are equipped with proper identification, including a collar, tag and microchip to ensure they have the best possible chance of finding their way back to you.


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