CMDec19-Cookie Corner


Pet Holiday Safety

Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course, you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible.

And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants, and dangerous decorations:

O Christmas Tree

Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Tinsel-less Town

Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries

By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy

Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods, or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.

Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn, and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy, or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems, and many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the Leftovers

Fatty, spicy, and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

That Holiday Glow

Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface, and if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up

Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

House Rules

If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

Put the Meds Away

Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

Careful with Cocktails

If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill, and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own

Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case, or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

This pet safety article is from the ASPCA website.


pet_coldtemperaturesYour pup may be excited to be able to play in the snow again, but with “the fun white stuff”, comes cold temperatures and even Polar Vortex conditions!  We know you and your dog are eager to get out there and have some fun, but how cold is too cold for your pet?

Does your dog have a thick coat?

It’s impossible to answer this question without first considering your dog’s coat.  Some dogs, like Huskies or Malamutes have thick coats that help keep them warmer, while other breeds such as Chihuahuas and Greyhounds have very thin coats and will get cold much more quickly.  Even dogs with thick coats can get cold when the temperatures drop or if they’re outside for extended periods of time.  For this reason, it is important to always keep an eye on your dog and bring it inside whenever it’s showing signs of being cold.

Does your dog need a coat or sweater?

While most dogs will be fine to go outside for short periods of time, it’s important to consider their natural ability to keep warm.  Do they have thin or short hair?  Do they have a lean body (such as a Greyhound)?  Is your dog still a puppy?  Is your dog a senior?  All these things need to be taken into consideration to determine if your dog is going to need a coat or a sweater.  Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with thin coats or lean bodies will generally need a coat or sweater to stay warm in the winter.  Even if you think your dog will be fine, however, pay close attention to its comfort level and consider getting it a coat or sweater if it shows signs of getting cold quickly.

Does your dog need boots?

Cold sidewalks, particularly stone walkways, can get very cold during the winter and be uncomfortable for your dog to walk on.  While your dog’s paws should be okay for short periods, you do need to watch for extreme temperatures, such as those during a Polar Vortex.  Additionally, some de-icers can actually burn your dog’s paws and even poison it if ingested!  While pet-friendly de-icers exist, we know you often don’t have control over what may be used in your community.  In cases where there is a concern about the safety of de-icers being used, or temperatures are particularly frigid, boots may be a good idea.

How cold is too cold?

Just like us, dogs get cold too.  While temperatures above 45F are generally okay for most dogs, you still need to pay attention to determine if your dog is comfortable.  Signs of being cold, such as shivering, whining, or acting anxious, are important indicators that it’s just too cold for your pet.

Below 45F, cold-averse dog breeds, such as Greyhounds and Whippets, will generally start to get cold.  These breeds are very sensitive to cold and often need coats or sweaters during colder weather.

Below 32F, small or thin-haired breeds, puppies, and senior dogs are likely going to need a sweater or coat to stay warm.

Below 20F, your dog is very likely to be cold, and it’s very important for all dog owners to be watchful for signs that your dog is uncomfortable or wants to go inside.  It’s also extremely important to limit time outside for your dog’s own safety.

While every dog and dog breed is different, these guidelines should help you determine what temperatures may be unsafe for your dog.  Always pay close attention to your dog when it’s outside, and bring it inside if it is ever showing signs of being cold or uncomfortable.

We hope this helps, and we hope you and your furry friends have a wonderful winter season!

About Disaster Blaster

Disaster Blaster is an indoor environmental firm serving the Northeastern PA Area.  We have been providing our local area with unparalleled water damage mitigation, mold remediation, radon mitigation, asbestos abatement, basement waterproofing, and fire / smoke restoration services for decades, and are proud to have been named The World’s Greatest Indoor Environmental Firm.  For more about Disaster Blaster, as well as more helpful tips, please visit our website at: or call our office at (570) 963-1123.


ChildSafetyNov19 OPT5 ways to reduce safety risks for young children

( As parents, one of your top priorities is the safety and well-being of your children. With all the potential pitfalls of day-to-day life, however, navigating the risks can be difficult.

These everyday safety tips can help you navigate everything from car seat safety to baby-proofing and safe sleep, keeping your child out of harm’s way as much as possible from birth through his or her toddler years.

Car Seat Safety

  • Always use a valid (typically less than 6 years old), federally approved car seat in motor vehicles.
  • Ensure the seat is properly installed. Refer to the instruction manual with any questions.
  • If you use an infant carrier, strap your child in on the floor, never a counter or tabletop.
  • For at least the first two years of your child’s life, the car seat should be rear-facing.
  • The safest location for a car seat is in the middle of the back seat.

Choking Prevention

  • Avoid giving your child nuts, popcorn, hard candies, hot dogs and raw fruits and vegetables, such as grapes or carrots, that may present a choking hazard.
  • Never prop up a bottle and leave your baby unattended.
  • Inspect toys often to ensure they’re not broken and do not have small pieces that could easily become detached.
  • Be cautious of strings and buttons on clothing.

Safe Sleep

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is on his or her back, which reduces the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Avoid placing anything in the crib or bassinet that may suffocate your child, such as pillows, blankets or bumpers.
  • Keep your child’s room at a moderate temperature and dress him or her appropriately to avoid overheating.
  • Never leave your baby alone on a bed, couch, changing table, swing or infant seat.

Water Safety

  • Set your hot water heater no higher than 120 F.
  • Test the temperature of bath water before setting your baby in the tub.
  • Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub.
  • Keep toilet lids down and consider installing toilet lid locks.


  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
  • Secure cords on blinds and drapes out of reach.
  • Keep sharp objects, such as knives, scissors and tools, and other hazardous items, like coins, beads and pins, in a secure place out of baby’s reach.
  • Store cleaning products and medications in locked cabinets. Never store potentially toxic substances in containers that could be mistaken for food or drink.
  • Cover all electrical outlets.
  • Cushion hard edges and sharp corners of furniture and decor.
  • Secure cords to electrical items along baseboards using electrical tape.
  • Attach heavy or tall furniture to the wall and avoid placing items that could fall, like electronics or lamps, on top of dressers or shelves.
  • Install safety gates with straight, vertical slats securely in front of all stairwells.

Find more tips and ideas to keep your children safe at home and on the go at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


EverythingFireSafetyNov19 OPT