Survey Shows Pets Sometimes Naughtier Than Nice Around Holiday Décor (Canada)

Nearly one-quarter of Canadians have taken their pet – or know someone who has taken their pet – to the vet during the holidays, according to new research from CSA International

CSA International’s Pets and Holiday Safety Survey reveals some worrying information when it comes to Canadians and our pets during the holidays. The research revealed that nearly one in four Canadians has taken their pet to the vet during the holiday season – or knows someone who has. Without proper attention to safety, a pet left with holiday décor can unwrap an unwanted wish list of dangers.

Canadians love their pets, which often become an important part of the family and provide us with some great laughs and special moments. Since we care so much about these special family members, it comes as no surprise that the holiday season presents concern around their safety. According to the study conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of CSA, a leading testing and certification organization committed to public safety, two in five Canadian pet owners worry about the safety of their pets when leaving them home alone with holiday decorations. And, they may have good reason as one in 10 Canadian pet owners have experienced an accident with their pet and holiday decorations.

“Staying safe and sound during this busy and festive season should be top of mind for people while they enjoy their time with family, friends and pets,” says Anthony Toderian, safety spokesperson for CSA. “Taking a moment or two to practice safety around the home can be as simple as following a few basic steps to help ensure the well-being of our pets and family.”

The survey polled 1,510 Canadians and 1,001 Americans regarding their pets and pet experiences during the holiday season and results show Canadians appear to worry less about pet safety during the holidays. For example, 60 per cent of American pet owners are concerned about the safety of their pet when leaving them home alone with holiday decorations, compared with only 42 per cent of Canadian pet owners.

“The holiday season can be a busy time at veterinary clinics,” says Dr. Ian Sandler, a veterinary member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. “Pets aren’t aware of the consequences of their actions as their home is decorated for the holiday season, and malfunctioning lights, plants and candles are just a few of the items that can wreak havoc. Family pets rely on their owners to look out for their welfare by ensuring their home is pet-proof, safe and secure.”

In an effort to avoid holiday accidents and keep pets and families safer this season, CSA International offers these tips:

  • Cords are not chew toys: Inspect and discard holiday light strings with frayed cords. Holiday decorations in proper working order and fully insulated can help avoid electrical and fire hazards and keep pets safe while you’re away.
  • Up and away: When decorating a tree or indoor space, place breakable ornaments and electrical decorations out of reach of children and pets. Potential eatables, such as chocolate, poinsettias, tinsel and colourful ornaments should also be placed out of reach.
  • Safe storage: After the holidays, wrap and store lights and decorations in their original packaging which contains manufacturer’s instructions on replacement bulbs and details on proper use. Keep pets away from packages and your gift wrapping area. Ingested string, plastic and wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and a trip to the vet.
  • No sparks for Sparky: Protect family and pets from electric shock by connecting all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by waterproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  • Cat and canine candle concerns: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or spark a fire if they knock candles over. Use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. Extinguish the candle before leaving the room.

Next on the List: Holiday Fire Prevention and Safety

Sparky’s favourite holiday spot might be relaxing in front of the fireplace but Canadian families shouldn’t overlook safety when it comes to fire, smoke and gas. CSA offers safety tips to help Sparky sleep the days away in front of a warm fire while ensuring Canadians enjoy a safe holiday season:

  • Fireplaces: Check to ensure your gas fireplace is not cracked or broken and in good working order and that children and pets are kept away from hot surfaces and open flames.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke alarms: Install at least one carbon-monoxide (CO) alarm near bedrooms, and test your smoke alarms monthly. One smoke alarm is not enough; install them on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. For more information on placement of alarms, visit your local fire official or the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council website at www.safeathome.ca

Holiday Safety Starts with Smart Shopping

  • Spot the mark to help keep Spot safe: When purchasing light strings, extension cords or electrical decorations, look for a certification mark such as one from CSA International. This provides assurance that products are tested and certified to applicable standards for safety and performance.
  • Fresh or fake, be safe: If you buy a real tree, make sure it’s fresh. Fresh trees are less likely to dry out and become a fire hazard. Artificial trees with electrical lights should have a certification mark on them and should be made of fire-resistant materials. Pet owners should take the time to tether their Christmas tree to a wall or the ceiling to avoid tipping by a pet or child.

More holiday safety tips can be found at www.csaholiday.com. For a fun holiday safety video visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TqZa-97vKo

About the survey

The online survey was conducted for CSA International by Leger Marketing between September 26th, 2011 to September 28th, 2011 with a representative sample of 1,510 respondents from Canada and 1,001 respondents from the United States on the topic of pet holiday safety. This method simulates a probability sample which would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5% 19 times out of 20 for the Canadian results and 3.1%, 19 times out of 20 for the American results.

About CSA International

CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes CSA Standards, a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards development, application products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit www.csa-international.org

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Amy Dickson / Briana D’Archi
Environics (for CSA)
416-969-2758 / 416-969-2671
[email protected] / [email protected]


December 1, 2011