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Holiday Decorating Pet Safety Tips

Even pets are excited by Christmas decorations


“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is one of the most beloved holiday comedies. But if you love cats, there’s one scene that’s something of a nightmare.


In the iconic scene, Aunt Bethany’s visiting cat drags a loose string of Christmas tree lights under an armchair. This pulls the plug from the outlet. Chevy Chase, as Clark Griswold, sees the lights on his tree are out and plugs the strand back in. A loud electrical buzz, flames, smoke and a brief cat screech come from beneath the chair.


Wires and Cords

Christmas trees and sparkling lights are festive additions to our homes during the holidays. And your pets may want to check them all out, too.


Make sure the electric wires for the tree lights are secured to the branches and not loosely looped. If your kitty is a curious climber, it could become entangled in the loose cords that could burn or strangle the cat.


Protect the cord running from the tree to the outlet if your pet likes to chew or could become entangled in it. Most hardware stores sell flexible electrical safety cables, covers and PVC conduit. Run the cord through or under one of these items to keep it safe. Purchase a pet deterrent spray from a pet shop to coat electric cords to discourage chewing or play.


For tabletop displays, consider battery-powered LED lights. No power cord to an outlet is needed, and the lights stay much cooler in case there’s just no stopping your curious pet.


Electric Shock

If you suspect your pet has chewed on a power cord and been shocked, visit your veterinarian immediately. Electric shocks are life threatening and are emergencies. A pet that has chewed on an electrical cord may have a white or seared area on its tongue or lips.


As “Christmas Vacation” revealed, electrical accidents in even comedic movies don’t give our beloved felines nine chances.


What to do if your pet is shocked!

If you think your dog has suffered from an electric shock, approach it with caution and care. It is already going to feel stressed and you don’t want to startle your pet. Also, if the wire is still live, you don’t want to be exposed to the source.


Take your pet to your veterinarian or pet emergency center as soon as possible to see if treatment is needed.


If your pet becomes tangled in cords, again try to keep it calm. You may need help from another person to gently remove the cords and keep it still.



Keep your pets safe from electrical dangers

  • Make sure all plugs are inserted completely into their wall sockets.

  • If your pet seems interested in electrical cords, check the cords frequently for signs of fraying and replace any damaged cords immediately.

  • Appliances near sinks and bathtubs should only be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection in case an electrical appliance is knocked into the water.

  • Lamps with exposed bulbs can reach very high temperatures. Do not allow pets to play near lamps. If the lamp is knocked over, a fire could break out.

  • Some pets, especially cats, will often seek out warm, secluded spots in the home. Do not allow your pet to hide or sleep behind your computer or TV equipment where numerous electrical connections are housed.

  • If you have an aquarium, make sure you create a drip loop on every electrical cord that enters the tank. This will prevent water from running down the cord and into the electrical outlet.

  • If you have a fenced outdoor area for your dog, be mindful of any underground electrical or cable lines running through that area. Make sure the lines are buried at appropriate depths, especially if your dog likes to dig.



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