The holiday season is the most festive time of year. The halls are decked, the tree is up, family and friends gather 'round to celebrate another year of joy and good will. However, this can be a stressful and potentially harmful time for your pets, as the constant activity, shiny objects, and scrumptious table scraps are practically ubiquitous all season long.
Taking some steps to keep your pets safe can save you from the vet's office and keep your best friend happy and healthy for many holidays to come.
It probably comes as no surprise that food is the first and possibly biggest threat to your pets this holiday season. There will be a veritable smorgasbord of irresistible smells, sights, and tastes for your pet to investigate, and with all the activity, it's unlikely that you'll be able to keep an eye directly on your pet for the entire time, and well-meaning guests may be tempted to sneak them some nibbles under the table.
Common holiday snacks and staples like chocolate, bones, fat trimmings, and nuts can be harmful and potentially fatal to pets. Caution guests against tossing table scraps to your pets, or keep them confined to a separate area during meal times, and keep candy bowls, stockings, and other goodie-filled vessels safely out of your pet's reach.
Cats, especially, are drawn to tempting holiday greenery and plants, but even a small amount of plant material can be deadly to your pets. All lily varieties are highly fatal for cats, but pine needles, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can all cause illness, irritation, or even death if ingested by your pets. Keep all plants out of reach of pets.
This is easier for dogs, but cats have a tendency to climb onto furniture, mantles, tables, and anywhere else you may have holiday greenery situated. Consider keeping table centerpieces with live plants under bell jars or decorative birdcages not only to add an element of design to your arrangements, but also to keep them safe from curious kitties.
Again, curious cats just cannot resist the ribbons and bows that adorn gift packages and other decorations during the holiday season. These are a serious choking hazard, and can cause obstruction in the digestive tract if swallowed. Keep pets safely out of any areas where you are wrapping gifts, and don't put gifts with ribbons on them under the tree unless your pets are confined away from them.
If you're an experienced pet owner, it's likely that you've had at least one tree toppled over by a curious pet. Tinsel, dangling ornaments, and twinkling lights all attract curious pets, and they all come with potential hazards. Tinsel can twist and bunch up inside your pet's digestive tract, requiring immediate treatment and possibly surgery to remedy. Ornaments can be broken and possibly cut or injure your pet, and lights can cause electrical shock if chewed or clawed.
It's tempting to include your pets in all holiday activities - they're family, after all. However, keep these tips in mind and consider keeping your best friend safely confined with some nice, pet-appropriate holiday treats of his own to keep him busy. Holiday chewies, toys, and treats especially for pets can be found at any pet store, so provide your pet plenty of these to distract from the more troublesome temptations.
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