While our holidays don’t feature the same dangerous cold as other parts of the country, there are still quite a few hazards that can turn a happy holiday into a sad one. Our pets are curious creatures and with all the new decorations, delicious-smelling foods, and guests in the home, they can easily get themselves into a lot of trouble. At Bottletree Animal Hospital, holiday pet safety is very important to us. To help you and your families have a happy, safe holiday, we’ve gathered tips for pet safety this holiday season.
Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh No, the Christmas Tree!
Holiday decorations are a key part of the season and help to make your home feel warm and festive. However, take care to secure decorations so your pet can’t do any harm to them (or themselves!).
- The Christmas Tree. Secure your tree in a corner, if possible, so your pet can’t knock it over during any thorough investigation. Additionally, it’s important to not place any breakable ornaments on the lower part of the tree where your pet can reach them! If you have a real tree this year, also be sure to keep your pet out of the water, and clean up pine needles around the base!
- Tinsel and other breakable decorations. Cats especially love playing with tinsel, but it can cause a serious intestinal blockage if consumed. Other breakable decorations can cause the same issues as well as damaged paws if any sharp edges get underfoot.
- Electric lights. Any lights on your tree or other areas of your home can be awfully tempting for pets. Many of the incandescent bulbs can run hot, which could cause burns, while any broken glass bulbs can damage paws. Use LED lights where possible, which are generally made of plastic bulbs and which don’t run hot. Furthermore, secure the cords out of reach, as they could cause electric shock if your pet chews them.
- Festive plants. Many of the plants we love during the holidays including amaryllis, mistletoe, holly, lilies, and balsam are dangerous to our pets if they ingest them. Keep all poisonous plants well out of your pet’s reach or use the fake varieties instead!
Holiday Guest Safety
With all the people around, your pet can either be in their glory with all the attention or be a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips for the safety of both your pet and guests.
- Inform your guests. When you invite your guests to celebrate the holidays, be sure to remind them of your pet. That way, those with allergies or other problems will be able to prepare for their visit.
- Know your pet. If your pet is more on the nervous side and will be upset with so many houseguests, it may be best to put them in a backroom or their crate with a favorite toy.
- Watch the door. As you’re busy welcoming guests a curious or anxious pet could easily slip out the door and become lost. Keep your pet away from the door to prevent an escape!
- Create a safe space. Even if your pet is a social butterfly, make sure they have a quiet place to go to relax and calm down after all the activity.
The holidays bring many delicious smells into our homes, and it can be hard for our pets to resist, too! Yet, some foods can make them very sick. Follow these tips to keep your pet safe.
- Avoid toxic foods. Chocolate, xylitol (a sugar substitute), grapes/raisins, onions, garlic, and uncooked meats can all be toxic to pets, so please keep all these items (and all human foods!) away from your pet. And make sure your guests know not to share either!
- Clear the leftovers. Be sure to clean up the table and put all the leftovers away right after dinner to avoid tempting your pet to hop on the table and take a nibble.
- Take the trash out. Pets have an incredible sense of smell, so there’s no way all that delicious food in a plastic bag will keep them at bay! Take the trash out as soon as you can, or secure it out of your pet’s reach until you’re ready to take it out.