Candles, wires, and chocolate can be fatal for a pet if left too accessible. We urge pet parents to keep decorations that can be a danger to their pet’s health out of reach.
Baking and trimming the tree are often holiday traditions in many pet parents’ homes. As the excitement of the season approaches, we must remember to keep our pets away from dangerous treats and decorations. With so much extra décor and treats in the house, pet parents must keep a close watch on their pets, especially during the holidays, and decorate with their pets in mind, keeping any dangerous materials out of Fido’s reach.
Before including pets in the holiday festivities, take necessary precautions and the following tips into consideration to ensure a safe and happy holiday for the whole family.
Holiday Safety Tips to Remember as you Celebrate the Season
Strangers and large groups in the home can create excitement–and stress–for pets.
Consider these methods for reducing pet stress during gatherings:
· Reduce holiday stress for pets by maintaining regular exercise and feeding routines during the holiday.
· Exercise dogs shortly before a party to reduce stress.
· Provide a private room or area where pets can retreat to avoid the stress.
· During a busy party or day, a pet placed outdoors (including by a well-meaning guest), can be forgotten and freeze. Make sure to check on them during regular intervals.
· Dogs should be trained on how to greet guests–when greeting guests at the door, consider placing dogs on a leash.
· Holiday plants with berries can be toxic, cause vomiting or worse, especially holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.
· Candles, incense and menorahs can all be dangerous to pets. Keep them out of reach of pets or have them supervised when lit.
· Potpourri and tobacco products left out can be toxic to pets.
· Be careful how you attach costumes to pets. Pets can choke on rubber bands, string, ropes and ribbons. These items can also cause discomfort if put on too tight or left on too long.
· Chocolates can be toxic and fatal to pets; forego nice displays of chocolates if they will be unattended and easily accessible to pets.
· Provide healthy treats for guests to give to pets.
· Guests should be prepared by letting them know you have a pet or pets, and providing a few simple tips on invitations:
“Please, don’t feed Whiskers, or leave food or beverages where she can reach them.”
“Please stay with the children when greeting and playing with Dusty.”
“Please do not let or take Sparky out of the house without checking in with me or Bob, so we can give you the lay of the land.”
(Unannounced walks will not let you warn the walker about neighborhood dangers).
“Please let us know if you’re bringing a pet.”
· Secure trees to both the floor and ceiling, if possible, to prevent them from falling.
· Pine needles can choke and puncture intestines. If you have a live tree, consider how you deal with this common problem.
· Consider what ornaments you will place on more reachable low-hanging branches. Place ornaments with string hangers vs. metal hooks down low.
· Food on Christmas trees can tempt your pets. Consider whether or not hanging candy canes, ginger bread, popcorn or cranberries is a good idea.
· Make sure pets cannot get at the water in the tree base. Tree water can contain fertilizers and bacteria.
· Tinsel is attractive to pets and can block intestines or choke; consider an alternative decoration for your tree.
· The holidays bring increased use of electrical cords, which can be chewed through and cause electrocution. Tape them over, put them under rugs, or spray them with a nontoxic, bad-tasting ingredient, such as Bitter Apple.
· Many children’s toys have small parts, which can be seen by pets as enticing play toys. Children should know the harm that can come to the family pet if they don’t pick up and put away all of the pieces of their games and toys.
By Sarah Zumhofe