The holidays are about spending time with family, which includes your furry companions. With decorating the Christmas tree and hosting holiday parties; keeping your pets safe during the merriest time of year, can be quite a handful. Here are some tips to ensure your pet has a happy and harmless holiday:
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Having a real Christmas tree in your home, can really get you and your family into the holiday spirit. It can also be hazardous to pets. Cats and dogs tend to be drawn to outdoor smells such as pine, and will approach the tree closely to sniff and inspect. You don’t want your curious pet to get too excited and accidentally push down the tree and have ornaments crash, the tree fall over, and most importantly, no injuries. Make sure the tree is secured properly and placed in a safe spot, possibly in a room where animals cannot enter or use a baby gate, as a barrier. If your pet still approaches the tree, there are some tricks you can do to warn your pet away such as placing aluminum foil, a plastic water bottle or any other object which will create noise, and still be safe to place near the bottom of the tree. Pine needles from the tree can be harmful to your pet if ingested. In addition, any ornaments and tinsel around the Christmas tree, should be kept out of your pet’s reach as well. They are both choking hazards and if ingested can possibly block their intestines, which means your pet will have to be prepped for surgery.
Light it up
Similar to ornaments, do not put up any Christmas lights on the lower branches of the tree. There are numerous safety concerns when it comes to Christmas lights and your pet’s safety, such as lights being a burning hazard and easy to become tangled in. If your pet bites through the wire, they can get a painful electrical shock. Also, if you plan on lighting any candles, opt for flameless ones instead.
Around this time of year, we love to indulge in sweets and treats. Unfortunately, holiday food is not intended for pets and can give them an upset stomach or worse a severe illness. Keep bowls of chocolate, candy and other goodies out of harm’s way. If no one is keeping a close eye on the scrumptious spread of food on the table, a dog may literally jump on the opportunity to snatch some turkey or a cat might hop on the counter to check out the appetizers. If you are planning to have a holiday party or family over for Christmas dinner, just keep an eye on your pet to make sure they are not bothering guests for food.
Holiday plants make our spirits bright during this time of year. Though plants such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias can be dangerous to your pet if ingested. Place them in an area where your pet cannot reach. Or you can have a more pet-friendly plant such as a spider plant, (which are quite easy to care for), palm plants, bamboo and an African violet.
Cozy and comfortable
The holidays can be overwhelming for all of us, not just our furry friends. Though it’s important to be considerate of your pet and provide a safe and comfortable space for them, especially during a holiday party. Depending on how many guests and how familiar the guests are to your animal, pets can become stressed and anxious. Provide a cozy, comfortable and safe area for them in main room or another room where they can retreat to. Fill the area with their bed, favourite toys and fresh water to give them familiarity and peace.
Dashing through the snow
If you are planning to host a holiday party, make sure your pet isn’t by the door. Yes, they will want to say hello to guests, but accidents do happen. With all the excitement, a pet could slip outside when the door is constantly being opened and closed. To be on the safe side, update your pet’s microchip and make sure they are wearing a collar with proper ID tag. Make sure your pet is insured as well.
If you do see a pet outside during winter with no microchip, collar or ID tag, document as many details as possible and contact the nearest Humane Society or local authorities.