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By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

December 1, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - ‘Tis the season to dig out those boxes of decorations, blow the dust off of them and start hanging all those lights, stockings, tinsel, garland and everything else that puts you in the holiday spirit. Just make sure your pets don’t put a “bah, humbug” into your plans this time of year.

That means keeping them away from certain holiday decorations that could mean an expensive, emergency trip to the veterinarian.

County Animal Services has nine tips to keep your pets safe, calm and happy during the holidays.

  • Keep pets away from mistletoe, holly or poinsettias. They are toxic to animals.
  • Chocolate can be toxic, too, so keep stockings out of reach and any chocolate cookies you might leave out for Santa.
  • Anchor your Christmas tree so pets can’t tip it over, such as tying your tree to a ceiling hook with fishing twine.  If you’ve used anything but tap water for the base of the tree, make sure they can’t drink it.  Don't use tree preservatives, which are toxic to pets.
  • Cats love to play with tinsel and curling ribbon but then they’ll try to eat it. Prevent a  trip to the vet and keep both tinsel and curling ribbon away from cats or don’t use it at all.
  • Hide electrical cords from your pets and make sure they can’t play with or knock over any candles.
  • Set aside a quiet room. Many dogs and cats get overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. A quiet room allows them to escape and sleep undisturbed.
  • Ringing in the New Year? Your dog needs a quiet, secure place on New Year’s Eve. The loud booms from fireworks can scare dogs. Some will do anything to escape the noise; they’ll run for miles and become lost. Create a safe place where they can hide out from the explosive sounds of the New Year and make sure your dog is wearing identification, just in case.
  • Microchip your pet. They might slip out the door unnoticed while you’re busy greeting holiday visitors. If someone finds your pet, a vet’s office or shelter can scan for a microchip and you’ll quickly be reunited with your pet. Animal Services offers microchipping from 1 to 3 p.m. every Thursday except holidays. The fee is only $10 and includes national registration.
  • Use your computer or smartphone and sign up for Finding Rover. This free service uses facial recognition to identify lost dogs. If your pet gets lost, Finding Rover has the photo on file for anyone who may find him.

Cross pet worries off your holiday list. Follow these nine tips and both you and your pets can enjoy the holiday season!


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