Holiday hazards to avoid to help keep pets safe

(ARA) – The holiday season is filled with a frenzy of activities from decorating the house to baking sweets to gift buying and wrapping. Adding decorations to your mantel or front yard adds a festive look to your house, but pet owners should also take a moment during the busy decorating season to examine how they make the season bright – and safe – for their pets and families.

According to new research from CSA International, a global testing and certification organization, 60 percent of pet owners are concerned about their pet’s safety when leaving them alone in a house. Three in 10 Americans have either experienced or know someone who has experienced a holiday decorations-related accident with a pet that required a trip to the vet’s office.

While the types of accidents varied, it’s important to remember these CSA International holiday safety tips to help keep your pets and family safe.

* Cords are not chew toys: But, sometimes you can’t prevent your pet from sneaking a sniff. 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 ingestible items out of pets’ reach, such as chocolate, poinsettias, tinsel and colorful ornaments that may look like a ball or toy.

* Spot the mark to keep Spot safe: When purchasing light strings, extension cords or electrical decorations, 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.

* 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 tether their Christmas tree to a wall to avoid tipping.

* 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.

* Holiday time is battery time: Make the holidays your time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and other safety devices and replace batteries if needed.

* 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 keep away from combustibles. And if you leave the room, blow the candle out.

* 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. Swallowed string, ribbon, plastic, and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require a trip to the vet.

More tips for a safe holiday season that’s fun for you and your pets can be found at