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Holiday pet hazards

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The holidays are filled with magic and joy, but for pets, it can also be filled with life threatening health hazards. There are a bevy of things to be aware of when it comes to our furry friends, from food and decorations, to holiday travel. 

The Division of Professions and Occupations, which licenses veterinarians in Colorado under the auspices of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, wants pets to remain safe during this hectic season, so they've compiled an easy to follow list of things to be cautious about:

Food: Some of the people-food that can be harmful to pets include chocolate, baked goods or other sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, turkey and turkey skin, table scraps (such as onions, raisins and grapes), and yeast dough. Clearing food from the table after you're done eating and placing trash where your pet can't get to it, will help cut down on potential accidents. 

In the event that your pet consumes something that they shouldn't, the ASPCA has a Poison Control Hotline in place if your pet is showing signs of distress (888) 426-4435. 

Decorations: Unsecured Christmas trees, water additives for Christmas trees, ornaments, tinsel, electric lights, flowers and festive plants, candies, and potpourri all have associated risks.

Parties:  Ensure your pets have a quiet place to get away from all of the commotion. Not every pet loves your guests as much as you might, so nervous pets should be placed in another room or even in their crate with a favorite toy.

Travel: Interstate and international regulations require any pets you bring with you to have a health certificate from your veterinarian, even if you are traveling by car. Make sure pets in vehicles are properly restrained and, when traveling by air, speak to your veterinarian about the risks and precautions that should be employed. If boarding your dog while traveling, make sure to discuss with your vet how to protect your pet from contagious disease and whether updates to the pet’s vaccines are necessary.

They also suggest that you have your veterinary clinic’s contact number handy, and if different, 24/7 emergency facility information available is a good initial step.

If you plan on adding a furry friend to the family and you need to find a licensed veterinarian in your area, you can verify a Colorado professional license and check for any disciplinary actions as part of the selection process by visiting http://colorado.gov/DORA/licensing.

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