The holiday season can bring about a number of challenges for pet owners. The weather gets cooler, we festively decorate our homes and prepare special meals to celebrate with loved ones gathered from near and far. Unfortunately, many things that make the holidays feel special for humans can be dangerous or unsettling for animals. It’s important to know how you can keep your pets safe during the holidays.
There is no need to cancel your festivities—just know what could cause harm to your pets and plan accordingly. Below you’ll find all you need to know to keep your furry friends safe and happy this holiday season.
How do you keep your pets safe during the holidays?
The good news is that keeping your pets safe this holiday season and beyond is as easy as jotting down the following tips. Then you can refer back to this list in the years to come:
- Pet-proof your holiday decorations and gift wrapping: Low-hanging glass ornaments on the Christmas tree, festive tinsel and ribbons, ceramic figurines and unprotected electrical wires all pose a potential risk to your pets. To avoid cuts, keep breakable objects in places your pet can’t access. Invest in chew-proof extension cords to prevent electrocution. Explore creative alternatives to shiny, stringy materials that may entice pets and wind up tangled in their intestines—no one wants to celebrate the holidays with emergency surgery.
- Avoid unnecessary stressors: Even the most well-behaved animal can get overwhelmed by unfamiliar people coming into their home, disturbing their routine and bringing new smells and loud sounds to their space. An anxious animal is an unpredictable animal. To minimize stress and potential for incidents, consider restricting your pet to a quiet area of the home with their food, water and toys until guests are gone.
- Steer clear of poisonous plants: Plants can be dangerous for curious pets. Pine needles from your Christmas tree can damage your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and lilies are all toxic to both cats and dogs. Before you buy a new plant, check to see if it poses a threat to your pet, and be mindful about where you place plants in your home.
- Don’t feed pets people food: Many foods on your holiday dinner table can make your pets sick. Fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy can cause painful indigestion, poultry bones are a serious choking hazard and alcohol can cause anything from vomiting to death. Key ingredients to making sweets irresistible and savory foods so satisfying can cause your pets harm. While an animal begging at the table can be hard to say no to, it really is in everyone’s best interest. Resist the cuteness.
- Know how to keep pets safe in the winter: Limit exposure to the elements by avoiding long periods spent outdoors, or protect your pets from the cold with booties and sweaters. Be sure to wipe paws off after time outdoors—your pet may have stepped on rock salt, antifreeze or other chemicals that may irritate their skin, causing them to lick and ingest potentially harmful chemicals.
The holidays are meant to be a joyous time for the whole family. By following these tips, you’re sure to keep your pets safe all season long. Have a question or concern about your pet’s health? The team at St. Francisville can provide the care they need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.