How to ensure you (and your pets) have a Happy Holiday!

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us!  Christmas trees are being decorated, lights are being hung, and goodies are being baked!  Oh, it’s just wonderful, isn’t it?  There’s just one teensy little problem…sometimes we forget about the dangers that all these things impose on our pets.  With a little preparation, though, we can have a safe AND festive home for the holidays!

If you’re putting up a real tree this year (mmm…can’t you smell the pine just thinking about it?), make sure your pet is unable to get to the tree water as it may contain fertilizers that could cause an upset stomach.  Whether your tree is real or artificial, make sure it is anchored securely so it won’t fall and cause any injuries.  Carefully consider the ornaments you use as some may have sharp edges or if accidentally broken may cause injury as well.   

Although beautiful, it may be wise to avoid holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias in a home with curious pets.  When ingested, these could cause nausea and/or gastrointestinal upset, and in extreme cases even cardiovascular issues.  If possible, replace these with artificial plants, or even a pet-safe bouquet of flowers. 

If you have a cat in your home, we probably don’t even have to tell you to avoid the tinsel!  Kitties seem to love this sparkly new “toy”.   Although it can be very humorous to watch them bat it around, if even a small piece is swallowed, it can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, and possibly surgery.  It’s really best to avoid it completely in a home with either cats or dogs.

Electrical wires, batteries, and candles should all be kept out of reach of your pets.  A chewed wire can deliver an electrical jolt to a chewer and a punctured battery may cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.  Candle glow is beautiful and serene but they can cause burns and even house fires if tipped over.  If you do light candles, make sure they are far out of reach and always put them out before you leave the room!

You already know not to feed your pet chocolate or anything sweetened with xylitol – an artificial sweetener that is toxic to animals.  Remember, though, that our pets will sometimes go to great lengths to get to food that has been left out on tables or counters.  Make sure you and your guests are disposing of used plates, cups and eating utensils and covering any food that is left out for snacking.  Secure lids tightly on the garbage cans, also!

If you’re expecting holiday guests, try to give your pets a quiet space of their own to retreat to.  Sometimes they can get stressed out with the extra activities around the house.  We are used to keeping our homes “pet-proofed”, but that can sometimes be forgotten when your guests come to visit.  Suitcases may be left open on the floor, leaving direct access to medications, lotions, perfumes, jewelry, and other potentially hazardous items.  Make sure your guests are aware that you have pets in the house and to keep potentially dangerous items in safe places.    

Lastly, make sure that during the hustle and bustle of the holidays that you’re keeping your pet in the feeding and exercise routine that they are used to.  Just like we like our daily routines, our pets rely on theirs as well. 

Wishing you all a safe and very Happy Holidays!