Holiday Safety Tips

Top Tips for Pet Safety Year Round!

Year-round and especially at the holidays, make sure your pet is wearing a current Broward County Pet License on its collar. Broward County Animal Care uses the Pet License to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners. If your pet is lost, it is 10 times more likely to be returned to you if it is wearing a license. A Pet License is the cheapest form of pet insurance you can buy, and it’s required for all cats and dogs age four months or older.

Summer Safety

  • When the temperatures outside are extreme, keep your pet inside the house as much as possible, preferably with the air conditioning or fans running.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke in your pet. These include excessive panting, glassy stare, dizziness, vomiting or collapse. If your pet shows the symptoms of heatstroke, move it into the shade and reduce its temperature by either soaking it with cold water or placing it in an ice bath. If your pet is conscious, give it a small amount of water or allow it to lick ice cubes. Then, bring your pet to a veterinarian immediately. But don't move the animal until you reduce its temperature.
  • Keep the grass cut short to reduce the chances of ear mite and tick infestations, which are more common in the summer.
  • Remove fecal matter from the yard as soon as possible. The feces will attract flies which will bite your pet, most commonly in the ears.
  • Remove leaf piles because the moist, cool leaves will attract bufo, or marine, toads. Bufo toads excrete a toxin that can be fatal to dogs and can cause irritation to humans. Dogs exposed to the toxin will foam at the mouth. If your dog comes in contact with a bufo toad, wash its mouth out with water from side to side. Then immediately seek emergency veterinary treatment.
  • Keep your pet safely away from hot grills, charcoal and lighter fluid.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellant and citronella candles and oil can be harmful to your pet.
  • If you keep a pet outdoors, provide plenty of clean water and adequate shelter to protect the animal from the sun or rain.
  • If you provide a structure for shelter, make sure it is grounded in case lightning strikes it.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car – not even for a few minutes. When temperatures outside are 85 degrees, the temperature in your car, even with the windows open, can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Your pet could suffer heat stroke. In just 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet could suffer brain damage or die. With the windows closed, the temperature can reach 160 degrees.

For more information, call your veterinarian. To report an animal in distress, call your local police agency or Animal Care Dispatch at 954-359-1313, extension 9249.

July 4 Safety

Bombs bursting in air on the Fourth of July may make you feel patriotic, but your pet may be frightened and try to escape from your yard. The days after July 4 are some of the busiest days of the year for Broward County Animal Care. We receive many phone calls for lost pets, and Animal Care Officers rescue a high number of stray animals. If you follow these safety tips for July 4, you greatly reduce the chances of losing your pet.

  • Don't take dogs to places where there may be fireworks.
  • If you plan to be away from home on the holiday, bring your pet inside the house and leave it in a quiet, protected room. Animals left outside in the yard may not only attempt to escape, they may also fall prey to possible abuse by misguided individuals.
  • If you are at home with a scared dog, don't reinforce its behavior by offering sympathy. Instead, divert its attention by practicing an obedience routine or playing a game.
  • Leave a scared cat alone. Don't try to force a feline from its hiding place. The cat will come out when it feels safe.

Halloween Safety

  • The best way to keep pets safe is to keep them inside the home, and not outside in the yard.
  • If you take your pet trick-or-treating, use a short leash to keep it from fighting with other animals or biting strangers. Groups of small ghouls and goblins can scare pets, prompting them to try to break the leash and escape. A pet running loose may fall victim to possible abuse by misguided individuals.
  • Inside, confine pets away from the front door in a separate room to prevent Fido or Fluffy from stepping outside when you are at the door.
  • Pets, especially dogs, are easily excitable or threatened by strangers. Confining dogs will also reduce the chances of them biting strangers.
  • Don’t share candy with your pet, especially chocolate. Candy is toxic for animals and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances and even death. Tell other family members, especially children, not to share their candy with the family pet. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate or other candy that causes discomfort, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Take extra precautions if you own a black cat by confining it in your house several days before Halloween. This will reduce the chances of someone abducting your black cat. Mythology about black cats and witches can lead people to do strange things to them. Even children who mean no harm may yell at or chase a black cat, scaring the cat much more than the cat scares them.
  • Finally, while your companion animal may look cute in a costume, be wary of pet costumes that use rubber bands to hold them in place. If you mistakenly leave rubber bands on your pet after the costume comes off, they can quickly burrow into the animal's skin.
Thanksgiving Holiday Safety
  • Keep your pet on its regular feeding schedule. Whatever time you normally feed your pet, stay with that routine.
  • Feed your pet its regular food. Giving pets Thanksgiving scraps can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Do not feed your pet any part of the turkey. While people may think that turkey is safe, often the seasoning from the turkey drippings, along with the skin and gravy can cause pancreatitis — inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Do not give your pet bones! Turkey bones are particularly dangerous since they can splinter and cause intestinal damage.
  • Secure the garbage pail! Table scraps, food wrappings, bones and other items can be tempting to your pet. Even simple items like aluminum foil and the string from the turkey can be consumed since your pet will smell the food and seasonings on such items. Be sure that all trash containers, both inside the house and outside, are securely closed so that animals cannot tear through the garbage for a private Thanksgiving feast.
  • Keep your pet in another room during dinnertime, so that they cannot sit and beg at the table. In addition, guests will not be tempted to give them any food.
  • Do not give pets chocolate! Chocolate is toxic and can affect the heart and nervous system.
  • Do not give your pet alcohol or eggnog to drink. Alcohol can cause coma and death in animals. Eggnog is extremely rich and can cause diarrhea.
  • Do make sure that your pet has plenty of fresh water at all times.
  • Most important, make sure that your pet is wearing proper identification. Pets can easily escape through the front or patio doors when guests come to your home. Remember that all dogs and cats within Broward County must be licensed and wear the license tag on their collar. This is the best to ensure that your pet is reunited with you if he or she becomes lost during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Winter Holiday Safety

The winter holidays are a wonderful time for people, but can be a stressful and potentially dangerous time for pets. Follow these tips for a joyous and safe holiday season.

  • Reduce the chance of losing your pet during a party or family gathering. Confine it to a quiet room away from the crowd. Pets, especially dogs, are easily excitable or threatened by unfamiliar people. Also, you may open the door many times during the evening, providing lots of opportunity for your pets to slip through your legs and outside. Confining dogs will also reduce the chances of them biting the guests.
  • Pet-proof the decorations in your home. Fasten the Christmas tree to a wall or secure it another way to prevent your cat or dog from knocking it over. Display the Menorah where your pet cannot knock it over.
  • Hang breakables and other tempting decorations well out of a paw's reach. Tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments are especially dangerous to pets if they chew or swallow them.
  • Keep electric cords hidden, or route them through PVC pipe to ensure your pet doesn’t play with or chew on them.
  • Place seasonal plants out of your pet's reach. Many of them are poisonous, including mistletoe, holly and poinsettia.
  • Some chemicals that extend the life of trees are poisonous. Cover treated areas with a section of window screen.
  • Don’t share candy with your pet, especially chocolate. Candy is toxic for animals and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances and even death. Tell other family members, especially children, not to share their candy with the family pet. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate or other candy that causes discomfort, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Don't give alcohol to pets. While adult humans have the body mass to adjust to alcohol's effects, pets don't. Any alcohol given to pets is dangerous and too much can be fatal.
  • Do not give people food to your pets. Poultry bones splinter and can be dangerous for pets to chew. Pork dishes are rich and will often upset your pet's digestive systems. Instead, give pets a few of their favorite pet treats during special meals or at parties.
  • Avoid giving pets toys with small parts or those made of soft materials that pets can chew up and swallow.
  • Avoid hard plastic dog bones. They can splinter or shed fragments that dogs swallow. Nylon-type chews don’t splinter and last longer.
  • Don't put catnip or other edibles in hanging stockings (especially if they're by the fire). Consider these ideas for stocking stuffers: a Broward County license to put on a brand new collar, a leash, bed or food and water bowl.
  • Finally, remember homeless animals at the holidays. Animal shelters are always in need of donations of food and toys. It's an excellent way to teach children generosity towards those less fortunate. How to Make a Donation
  • Consider the gift of a shelter pet. Holiday gift certificates are available.
  • Do not give an unexpected pet as a holiday gift. Instead take advantage of a Broward County gift certificate available online.

New Year's Safety

When ringing in the New Year, be sure to protect your dog or cat. Follow these special safety tips so your pet stays healthy and safe:

  • Loud noises can be scary for your dog or cat. Keep your pet safe indoors in a quiet area.
  • Make sure he is wearing identification, including a Broward County Pet Registration tag; an ID tag with his name engraved on it, or a microchip in case your pet gets out of the house.
  • Continue to secure all holiday decorations
  • Don't give alcohol to pets! Alcohol is dangerous to pets and too much can be fatal.
  • Do not give people food to your pets. Keep all spreads of snacks, foods and drinks away from your dog and cat so that they are not able to reach them. Do not allow guests to feed your pet any food and be sure to secure your garbage so that your pet can?t host his own private party.