When it comes to the holiday season, it’s important that both you and your beloved pets have a joyful, festive, and safe experience all around. To make sure the holiday cheer lasts from the first decoration to the last hurrah, here are five ways to keep your pet safe during the holidays.
Avoid Certain Holiday Plants
We may love to bring the outdoors in throughout the holiday months, but some plants can be toxic to our pets at various levels. This includes:
Poinsettia – Could lead to irritation of the mouth or esophagus and stomach upset
Holly and Mistletoe – Can lead to stomach upset, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain – and large quantities of mistletoe can cause a drop in blood pressure, problems breathing, hallucinations, or even seizures
Lilies and Daffodils – Lilies can cause heart or gastrointestinal issues with cats; daffodil bulbs are dangerous to both dogs and cats
Amaryllis – Could cause stomach upset, lethargy, or tremors
Christmas Cactus –While the plant itself is not toxic, the plant material can cause irritation
Christmas Trees – Tree needles can bring stomach upset or puncture the bowels
For those who have four-legged friends at home, you may want to reconsider what plants you bring into the house. If you do choose to decorate with one or more of these, make sure they’re out of the way from where pets can reach them.
Decorate With Pets in Mind
Bringing holiday decorations into the home is one of the most exciting parts of the season, but it’s essential to keep your animals in mind as you deck the halls.
If you get a Christmas tree or have any other kind of large, standing decoration, make sure it’s properly secured to avoid tipping over. Also, you might want to skip over the bright and shiny tinsel that can be attractive to pets’ eyes, but not to their digestive tracts.
This same concept goes for all the lovely little packages that will pile up over the next few weeks. The wrapping paper, ribbons, strings, and cloth could potentially look like fun new toys to your pet. All of these items could become choking hazards. And don’t forget to pick up the scraps once everything is unwrapped, to make sure your furry companion doesn’t find something to chew on later.
If your pets are out and about at night, it might be a good idea to keep your wrapped gifts someplace where they can’t reach them, especially at night or if you’re gone at work for the day. Storing the gifts in a closet might not be as eye-catching as a sprawling pile of presents under the tree – but it could save a late-night trip to the veterinarian hospital.
Think About Lights and Candles
Thinking of the holidays as “merry and bright” should not include any bright house fires. With almost 47,000 home fires each year during the holidays (we’ll have more to say about that in future blog posts), it’s important to keep you, your family, your pets, and your home safe from danger.
If you’re lighting any candles, put them up on a secure flat surface to avoid pets tipping them over or burning their fur/paws. And never leave candles burning unsupervised, even if only for a little while.
Also, remember that electrical wires can easily be chewed or tangled up in your pet’s legs. Try wrapping excess cord and tucking it away. Or, you can tape the excess wire along the wall or the floor so that it’s out of the way and harder for your pet to get at.
Hide the Human Treats
Many of the foods we enjoy over the holiday season can be harmful to our pets. Of course, all foods with chocolate and those sweetened with xylitol should be kept in a secure place. And don’t forget about choking hazards like small turkey bones. If your trash will be out in the open, invest in one with a pet-proof lid.
Tis’ the season for delicious, festive cocktails, but keep your holiday cocktails out of your pet’s reach. Alcohol can cause animal ethanol poisoning, leading to decreased body temperature, slowed breathing and heart rate, and even a heart attack.
And remember: All edible tree decorations – strings of popcorn, gingerbread ornaments, or candy canes – smell awfully enticing to your furry friend, so either put them out of reach or skip them altogether.
Instead, try purchasing some new treats from your neighborhood pet store to keep your four-legged companion satisfied and less interested in stealing from your plate (or garbage can, or wherever).
Provide a Safe Place
If you’re one to throw fabulous holiday parties throughout the season, it’s important to remember your pooch may not share your extroverted qualities. Even if your pet is social, it is a great idea to provide easy access to a safe and quiet place where she can get out of the spotlight and rest away from the crowds.
Make up a bed and place an extra bowl of water in their little nook in case you find yourself preoccupied with guests throughout the night. This is extremely important for holidays with fireworks or loud poppers.
If your pet doesn’t like too much interaction, don’t be afraid to tell guests to leave them alone unless your pet approaches them. It is their house too, after all.
Enjoy Happy Holidays With Your Pets
We all know that while the holiday season is supposed to be about happy festivities, it can easily become a stressful time too. Cross off any pet stress off your list simply by thinking ahead and applying these tips to keep your furry friends safe for the season.