Tedi Graham

The holiday season is full of joy and festivity and is a wonderful time to share all this with our pets. But it is also a season filled with stress, temptations and the possibility of accidents. However, there are ways to protect your four-legged best friend and still enjoy good cheer.

A holiday bow around your cat’s or dog’s neck is cute, but it can choke him if he catches his paw on it or snags it on something else. At the least it can embarrass him in front of his friends. Instead, get a snap-away collar which detaches when pulled. They are available in holiday colors and designs at pet stores and on-line.

If you absolutely must put antlers on your dog or a Santa hat on your cat, do it quickly. Take a photo for your Christmas card and then remove it. Most of those items aren’t made for long time wear, safety or comfort.

When you are decorating consider where you want to put your treasured pieces. Fragile or chewable decorations should be displayed well out of your pet’s reach. Avoid setting up Nativity or winter scenes on low tables. An enthusiastic sweep of a tail could dump it all on the floor in a moment.

Some cats will ignore the Christmas tree. Some think it is the greatest thing ever. If your cat is this kind, fasten the tree to a nearby window with clear fishing line. Hang your most fragile or cherished ornaments near the top of the tree and fasten them securely with hooks and anchor them with bread bag twists or thin wire. It’s worth the extra time. You can put the wooden and felt ornaments on the lower branches where your cat can enjoy them in any way she chooses.

Skip the tinsel. Any of the plastic garlands and specialty lights will make your tree sparkle and you won’t have to worry about your pet eating the tinsel and the problems that would result.

If you use candles, consider using holders that have glass domes or cylinders that cover the candle and flame. You can also use battery operated candles. If you have cats, these are far less likely to singe fur. No matter what kind of candles you use, don’t light them unless an adult is there to monitor the antics of a curious cat or one who just walked too closely by. I learned this the hard way when my long-haired cat twice came walking into the room with his tail smoking and had to be taken to the kitchen to be wet down. I don’t use candles at all anymore.

If you would like to have a cat or dog to enjoy the holiday with visit the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter located at 1206 N. West St. in McAlester. The phone number is 918-423-7803. The hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. The adoption fee for a dog is $20 and $15 for a cat. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

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