Pet safety tips during the holidays

, Pet safety tips during the holidays(NC)—As families gather together during the holiday season, many Canadians have no choice but to leave their beloved pet home alone. But without proper attention to safety, a pet left with holiday décor can unwrap an unwanted wish list of dangers.

A recent survey by CSA, a leading testing and certification organization, shows that approximately 42 per cent of Canadian pet owners surveyed say they worry about the safety of their pets when leaving them for the holidays. And, one in four Canadians has experienced an accident with a pet involving holiday decorations, or knows someone who has. In an effort to help avoid accidents and keep pets and families safe this season, CSA offers the following tips:

• Cords are not chew toys: Sometimes you can’t prevent your pet from nosing around. Carefully inspect holiday light strings yearly and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections. Ensuring that all holiday decorations are in proper working order and all cords are fully insulated are important steps to avoiding electrical and fire hazards and keeping pets safe when you’re away.

• Up, up and away: When decorating a tree or other indoor areas, place breakable ornaments and electrical decorations up high to protect both small children and pets. It’s also important to keep potentially deadly ingestibles out of pets reach, such as chocolate, poinsettias, tinsel and colourful ornaments that may look like a ball or toy.

• Spot the mark to keep Spot safe: When purchasing light strings, extension cords, electrical decorations, or spotlights and floodlights, look for a certification mark such as one from CSA International. This provides assurance that products are tested and certified to applicable standards for safety and performance.

• Safe storage: After the holidays, wrap and store lights and decorations in their original packaging, as they likely contain manufacturer’s instructions on replacement bulbs and details for proper product use. Keep pets away from packages as well as your gift wrapping area. Ingested string, plastic, and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require a trip to the vet.

• Fresh or fake, be safe: If you buy a real tree, make sure it’s fresh. Fresh trees are less likely to dry out and become a fire hazard. Artificial trees with electrical lights should have a certification mark on them and should be made of fire-resistant materials. Pet owners should take the time to tether their Christmas tree, or use baby gates to limit a pet’s access to the tree.

• No sparks for Sparky: Whenever possible, protect family and pets from electric shock by connecting all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).

• Cat and canine candle concerns: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, blow the candle out.

More holiday safety tips can be found at

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