Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!!! As we leave 2013 behind and head into 2014, please remember to keep your pets safe during the holidays. (Oh yeah, and you and your humans too!) But the pets can’t take care of themselves. So, Yes, we love them, yes we dress them up in costumes, yes, we sneak them food under the table…. But there’s lots of stuff to get into and lots of sugar and chocolate and plants around that can be dangerous… plants they shouldn’t eat, food they shouldn’t have, things they shouldn’t get into. So you want to watch them, help them, make sure they are in on the fun, but safe at all times. Here is a list from the ASPA with my personal seal of approval and my own little twist. And after all is said and done….make sure you stick their butts (or lips) under the mistletoe (where they can’t reach it) and kiss those furfaces all day long!
Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, being good pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
O Christmas Tree (or Chanukah Bush) Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furballs
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 fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Leave the Leftovers
Not that me or my hubby can do that… but we have opposable thumbs and no will power. Luckily your dog can’t open the refrigerator so you have some control! Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills. Of course some dogs, like my 2 were garbage cans and ate everything with us, they shared and never got sick. A lot of people used to believe table scraps were bad for pets, now some people only feed table food to their dogs. Know your dog, know what is good and bad for him, and also know which things are poisonous or will cause reactions, raisons, onions, chocolate, caffeine, artificial sweeteners etc. please just use your head.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
- Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
- Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet. Many plants are toxic to pets, including chrysanthemums, clematis, coleus, daffodils, geranium, hibiscus, hostas, hyacinths, most ivies and lilies, peony, sweet William, tulips and vinca.
For a comprehensive list and photos of pet-safe garden plants, visit the Animal Poison Control Center at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out! One of the dogs may try and use it to barbeque something delish he found in the garbage!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth. Actually, not a bad plan to keep the human babies in line with some of these tips too!
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. This is my favorite thing to do, I am the one not paying attention to the humans but rolling on the floor with their pets and getting my Khristmas Kisses!
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.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, and they better!! be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure. Or they may just don a lampshade and embarrass you with the latest dance…. Who let the dogs out… who who????
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. I’ve done this too….
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, again, cats and strings…..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. If your pet is really scared of the noises, check into a thundershirt. They are great.
Keep an Eye on them!
This is the jolly happy season of giving and love and peace, but Please also remember to always check on where they are. Don’t leave them outside in the cold accidentally while you are partying. Don’t leave them alone for too long, and watch they don’t get out of the house while your guests are coming and going from your party. Doors held open, people not paying attention, pets can get loose, and end up lost, or on the streets. So just be aware.
Bottom Line!! Happy Holidays!!!!! Have Fun, Be Safe, Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!