Winter Brings Pet Hazards

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Winter brings excitement regarding the holiday season filled with family and friends, however, it also brings many health hazards for family pets.

Keeping cats and dogs out of the cold isn't the only step pet parents should take this winter to ensure their health and safety.

"It's easy for pet parents to get caught up in holiday festivities," said Brent Hinton, former Kentucky Humane Society director and current PetFirst Healthcare CEO. "It's still important to keep our four-legged friends safe among all the chaos."

PetFirst Healthcare suggests taking these simple steps to protect family pets from falling prey to holiday threats that are often overlooked, resulting in symptoms as mild as lethargy and vomiting to some as serious as death:

-- Knock on the hood of your vehicle or honk your horn before starting the engine -- Cats like to nap on warm places and seek refuge on car engines during cold months

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-- Wipe pets' feet and undersides after being outdoors -- Ice-melting products contain chemicals that can irritate pet's skin, especially the pads of their feet

-- Clean up any antifreeze spills and store in a secure location -- Antifreeze has a sweet taste, but even the smallest amount can be fatal to dogs and cats if ingested

-- Cover live Christmas tree stands -- The mixture of pine sap, water and fertilizers become a poisonous concoction for pets

-- Keep holiday plants out of pets' reach -- Many festive arrangements, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and lilies are poisonous plants

-- Pick up any ornament hooks, tinsel or ribbon -- Pets can experience serious internal injuries from ingesting these items

"This is the time of year we start to see a lot of claims for illness and injury due to winter pet hazards," Hinton said. "Many of these can be prevented if pet owners know the dangers and take the proper precautions."

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