10 tips to keep Arizona pets safe during holiday season

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The holiday season can be a fun and special time for Arizona families, but it can also be a stressful and dangerous one for pets in the Valley. 

The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control wants to make sure that owners are aware of the dangers that surround a pet this time of the year. 

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Officials with MCACC have released the following safety tips for pets to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season: 

1. Place your Christmas tree in a corner, blocked off from your pet's wanting eyes. If this doesn't keep your dog or cat from attempting to jump onto the tree, you can place aluminum foil, a plastic drink bottle filled with knick knacks, or anything else that creates noise on the tree's bottom limbs to warn you of an impending tree disaster.

2. Tinsel can add a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure you hang it up out of your pet's reach. Ingesting the tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.

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3. Do not put lights on the tree's lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, they are a burning hazard. Additionally, your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire.

4. Ornaments need to be kept out of reach, too. In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths, or other parts of your pet's body.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Critter Corner]

5. For those buying a live Christmas tree this year, keep the area free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet's intestines if ingested.

6. Did you know holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats? If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, they should be kept in an area your pet cannot reach.

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7. Edible tree decorations -- whether they be ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings -- are like time bombs waiting to happen. These goodies are just too enticing and your pet will surely tug at them, knocking down your wonderfully decorated spruce.

8. Burning candles should be placed on high shelves or mantels, out of your pet's way -- there's no telling where a wagging tail may end up. Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.

9. To prevent any accidental electrocutions, any exposed indoor or outdoor wires should be taped to the wall or the sides of the house.

10. When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, string, plastic or cloth could cause intestinal blockages. Scissors are another hazard, and they should be kept off floors or low tables.

For more information on pets or if you are looking to adopt this holiday season, visit maricopa.gov/pets

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