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Pets and Holidays

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Precautions for pet owners during the holidays


Christmas trees should be secure so that cats and dogs cannot pull them down. Tinsel and ribbons can be fatal to a dog, car, or bird if swallowed. Be cautious with Christmas lights, they can also be fatal if a dog, cat or bird chews through the wires and it can also be a fire hazard for your home. Make sure your fragile ornaments are out of reach of a curious cat or dog that might be attracted to the shiny surface or sparkles and try to bat it off the tree. Don't use popcorn for decorations. Dogs, cats and birds can choke on popcorn. If you are using a live tree, make sure that the preservative in the water is not poisonous to your pet. Many times, pets will mistake this water for drinking water. Be sure that your animal is properly "potty-trained" or they might use the tree as a watering post. Don't feed your pets rich holiday foods. Do not give your pet leftover turkey bones or other table scraps and don't feed your animal’s candy, nuts, or chocolate which can be fatal. Poinsettias are extremely poisonous to cats and dogs. Precautions should be taken to move poinsettias so that animals cannot chew on the leaves.


In general, pets as holiday presents are a very bad idea both for the pet, and for the person receiving the pet. During the first few weeks of the New Year, animal shelters and humane organizations see a steady stream of cats, dogs, small animals and other pets that were given to someone at Christmas time.

Puppies just don't make good presents because they need so much attention and care as well as require constant attention and supervision when you first bring them home. They must be fed three to four times daily. House training must start immediately and it is a time-consuming process. Puppies usually need to go out every time they eat, drink, play or wake up from a nap, including the sleepiest hours of these cold, winter nights.

During the holiday season people are so busy that they don't have the time it takes to fulfill a new pup's 'round the clock demands. It's unfair to bring a young dog into the chaos of holiday celebrations and ignore their needs.

It is best done later, when things are calmer and there's more time to help the puppy adjust to their new surroundings.

Puppies advertised as Christmas presents have most often been bred to bring their owner extra cash for the holidays. Most reputable breeders do not have litters available during the holidays because puppies that are given as presents seldom remain in their first home.


Independence Day is among the most celebrated holidays in the nation. Coloradoans stay out past sunset to watch the fireworks light up the sky and thunder through the night. Firework shows can be a fun experience for many, but they can also frighten and disorient our canine and feline friends. If you are a pet owner, make sure you are following these tips to protect your pet from harm:

  • Don't take your pet to a fireworks display
  • Do not leave your pet in the car. Opened windows do not provide sufficient air.
  • Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any fragile items. Also leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them company.
  • Take your pet for a walk first. Some pets are too frightened to void once the fireworks begin, and this may lead to an "accident" later on.
  • Provide a safe "escape" place. Pets will seek out a small den-like place, such as a crate, if they are fearful or stressed. It is recommended to create that safe place and familiarize your pet with it before needed, to reduce stress during fireworks.
  • If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian before July Fourth.
  • Never leave your pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
  • Use a leash or a carrier. If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
  • If you plan to go away for the 4th of July holiday, arrangements should be made to ensure that your pet is properly taken care of in your absence.

If you are wishing to report an animal that is in a life threatening situation today, please call (303) 651-8500. For non-emergency information regarding animal related issues you may call (303) 651-8500 or email Animal Control.


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