The holidays are an exciting time and everyone is in a happy family mood! But this time of year can also pose some extra risks for your pet. Of course, you want to keep your pet safe and happy to make sure that the entire family has a merry time! With some extra measures when it comes to things like decorations, food and activities, you can prevent anything bad from happening to your pet! Here are some things to consider…
1. Secure the Christmas Tree
The biggest symbol of the festive season is perhaps the greatest risk to your pets. A natural Christmas tree attracts pets with its smell, but even if you have a plastic one in your home, your pet’s curiosity is likely to win them over and they will gravitate towards the tree. To keep them safe, make sure that the tree is properly secured and won’t easily fall over. If possible, you can also have a small barricade around the tree as an added layer of security. You might also want to ensure that the tree does not come with any bugs, who can infest your pet’s fur. Here is a neat trick: spread aluminum foil around the tree. When your pet steps on it, it will make noise that alerts you to potential danger!
2. Pick Decorations Carefully
Did you know that some traditionally Christmas plants can be dangerous for your pet? For instance poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe are all poisonous for dogs and cats. Of course, you can still have them around the home, but make sure that they are out of your pet’s reach. The same goes for lights and fragile ornaments. They can be hazardous, since your pet might hurt themselves by stepping on a broken ornament, getting tangled up or shocked by electric wires, or chew on a fragile toy if they mistake it for a toy.
3. Maintain Your Pet’s Diet
With holidays and festivities come great delicacies and buffets. While you might be tempted to share these with your pet, it may not be such a great idea. New foods, especially spicy ones, can upset your pet’s digestive system. Turkey might seem harmless, but it has highly brittle bones that can lodge in the pet’s gut. Meanwhile, indulgence in fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis, which is a very painful and life threatening condition.
4. Keep Edible Gifts Out of Reach
Cats and dogs have highly sensitive noses. That means that they can smell goodies even when they are wrapped. Unfortunately, at times, they are not so good at telling what they should not eat. To keep the pets from ruining the surprises you’ve put in gift boxes, make sure all edible gifts are safely kept out of their reach. This is also important to make sure your pet doesn’t eat anything unsafe, like chocolate.
5. Safe Proof Your Fireplace
Just like children, pets are super curious and playful. They are also quick to get in trouble if you are not watching! If you are going to turn on your fireplace this festive season, make sure that it’s safe for your pets. There should be a fire guard in place and if you’ve got the fire going, be vigilant your pet’s whereabouts.
6. Provide Comfort for Pet Anxiety
It’s fireworks season! Which is exciting for humans, but can be very scary for many pets. If your dog or cat gets extremely anxious during fireworks, there are a few things you can do to reduce the stress. For example, draw your curtains and put on the TV or radio as a distraction. Other sources of stress might include constant visitors, separation anxiety if you are traveling and general changes in their environment. Pay attention to your pet and comfort them when needed – animals are extremely sensitive by nature and stress can lead to health issues.
7. Pick Pet Toys Wisely
While there are many toys that are specially made for cats and dogs, not all are 100% safe. Avoid ribbons, yarns and strings for cat toys. Also, take of any plastic eyes or noses on toy mice for cats, as they can rip them off and accidentally swallow these. For dogs, avoid any toys that are small enough to be ingested, stuffed with beans or beads, or have linear shape. That said, your pet should have a merry festive season, so it’s a great idea to include them on your holiday shopping list!
The holiday season brings together the family like no other time of the year. Avoid making this time of the year stressful or unpleasant, by making sure that your pets are safe and sound. Pay them some extra attention and reward them with a great holiday gift!