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12/15/2013 01:25 pm ET

Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe This Holiday Season

With the holiday season now in full-force, it's important to remember the health and safety of the four-legged creatures sitting underneath the dinner table.

The American Kennel Club compiled a list of easy tips to keep your pets safe during the holidays, as well as a staunch reminder that puppies don't make for good stocking stuffers. The group says the traditional holiday gift shouldn't include a family pet unless potential owners are ready for a lifetime commitment.

New puppies require a great deal of time and care during their first few weeks at home. If you are considering a new addition to the family, the AKC recommends wrapping up a leash or dog bowl and then taking adequate time to research the right dog for you.

Take a look at a list of some other holiday safety tips provided by the AKC below.

  • Consider Your Tree Purchase
    Consider having an artificial Christmas tree, but if you do have a natural one, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep the puppy away.
  • Watch Out For Toxic Plants
    Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe should be kept out of your dog’s reach, as they can be poisonous to pets.
  • Keep Leftovers To Yourself
    Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Don’t let your puppy’s cute face convince you that he should be given table food. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.
  • Rethink Those Cranberry Strands
    When decorating for the holidays, avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
  • Place Ornaments High
    Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ingesting ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy.
  • Tape Up Exposed Wires
    Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your inquisitive little friend– if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Watch Out For Candles
    Be wary of lit candles, as energetic puppies can knock them over causing them to receive serious burns or even start a house fire. They may also be inclined to investigate a fireplace too closely.

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