The holiday season is upon us, and many families with pets plan to include their furry friends in the fun and festivities. Soon friends and family will be ringing your doorbell with warm, greetings of holiday cheer. As you get ready to enjoy the holidays, here are a few tips to ensure that our canine and feline family members enjoy the holidays as much as you do.
What NOT to do and what TO do:
- Don’t relocate your pets’ sleeping areas.
- Don’t disrupt bathroom and feeding routines.
- Don’t let guests feed your pets human food. There are many holiday foods, including fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin, bones, chocolate and alcohol, that can cause illnesses from vomiting and diarrhea to highly serious pancreatitis and other toxic reactions. In addition, candy wrappers, aluminum foil pieces and ribbons can choke pets.
- Don’t let pets access trash. Use pet-proof containers to keep pets away from holiday garbage including fatty food scraps or sweets that can cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Do keep fresh water available for pets to drink.
- Do keep pets away from gift packages as well as your gift wrapping area. Ingested string, plastic, cloth and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require surgical removal. And pets have been severely injured by scissors and other items left on floors and tables.
- Do give your dogs and cats lots of attention and assurance.
- Do reduce pet stress by keeping feeding and exercise on a regular schedule.
- Do let your pets introduce themselves to your guests in their own time. Be patient.
Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations
- Avoid a Christmas Tree Catastrophe: Be sure to securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall. And if you have a natural tree with water in the tree stand, make sure your pets do not drink ‘tree water”, which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset.
- Tinsel Trouble: 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 ( yikes! ).
- Mistletoe & Holly: Did you know holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs or cats?v If pets chew or eat Holly it can result in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to causing tummy troubles for our furry friends, Mistletoe can trigger cardiovascular problems. Be sure to take a pet-safe approach to holiday decorating that includes plant material.
- Decorations and Ornaments: Be sure to keep breakable ornaments and electric tree lights safely out of paws’ reach.
Holiday Food And Treat Considerations:
- Skip the Sweets: 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 pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food.
- Select Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, or with pet safe snacks fro .
Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
- Play Nice: 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.
- 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. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.
With a bit of prep and attention your pets will be sure to enjoy the holidays. We wish you a most rollick-some, frolicsome pet-safe and friendly holiday season filled with cold noses and warm snuggles!