Important Tips for Keeping Our Furry Friends Safe and Healthy at Home This Holiday Season
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Important Tips for Keeping Our Furry Friends Safe and Healthy at Home This Holiday Season

The holiday season presents many unique dangers to pets that most people don't always think about until it's far too late

November 22, 2019

The holiday season is here again. It's the prime time for holiday parties and other festivities, but these festivities can be hazardous for our four-legged family members. Keeping our pets safe should be an important part of holiday celebrations, and doing so is as easy as making a few changes and setting some ground rules. Take some time now to help your furry family members stay safe this season.

Anchor Christmas Trees

To a playful pet, your Christmas tree might look like a giant toy of sparkly fun. Be sure to securely anchor your tree so it doesn't tip and fall. Cats love to climb branches and large dogs have a habit of bumping into them, especially those with big wagging tails.

keep decorations out of reach

Lights bulbs made of glass from decorative strands can cause internal bleeding if ingested, not to mention electric shock if the lights are turned on. Plastic bulbs are a safer alternative if you are in the market for new ones. Other ornaments with sharp edges can cause damage to your pets' paws, even cats if they decide to bat at them. Smaller ornaments can be choking hazards if swallowed and can even become lodged in the digestive tract, causing serious problems and often needing expensive medical care.

Christmas Tree Water

Anyone with a pet knows that animals have very low standards when it comes to the things they eat and drink. To many people, water keeping the Christmas tree moist may not seem like a hazard, but it can be. Tree water can contain fertilizers and chemicals that seep from the tree, not to mention any additives you've put in to keep it green. Water that sits unchanged for even a short time is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make your pet sick. In any case, chemicals and bacteria in even small amounts can spell big headaches for pets. So keep them away from tree water and take steps to make sure they can't drink it.

Special Holiday Plants

Poinsettias are commonly thought to be very deadly to animals, but they are actually not. Still, that's no reason to let your pets munch on them. Lilies, holly and mistletoe, on the other hand, are extremely toxic in even small quantities. The best advice is to keep all plants away from animals, especially if they like to nibble.

Cats Love Tinsel

Tinsel might seem innocuous, but cats love this sparkly light-catching toy that's easy to bat around and get in their mouths. Tinsel can be easily swallowed, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and surgery.

pick up the wrapping paper

Wrapping paper on the floor can present an attractive playground for your pet, but wrapping paper, ribbons and tape can all cause choking hazards and other problems if ingested. Additionally, some papers may have hidden chemicals from the manufacturing process that can make pets sick.

Holiday Stress and a safe place

Even the best, most behaved pets can get anxious and really stressed around the holidays. So make sure that your pets are getting an appropriate amount of attention and ample exercise. Before a large gathering, take the dog on a long walk to release some pent up energy that would otherwise be unleashed on your guests.

While guests are around, make sure your pets have a safe, secure and familiar place they can go when they are feeling overwhelmed. This can often be a favorite bed or crate that's out of the way. If you are moving the bed or crate to a new location, do so a few days ahead of time so your pet can become familiar with the spot.

Guest Rules for Interaction

Don't be afraid to set some ground rules for how your guests interact with your pets, which can greatly help to keep your pet comfortable. It's your pets' home, after all. So make sure your guests know that if your pet is in a safe place to leave it alone. Never force your pets, especially dogs, to interact with guests. This can cause even a mild-tempered pet to lash out, especially if already stressed.

Keep Identification Updated

Make sure your pets are wearing collars with an ID tag and that their microchips include up-to-date information. Stressful situations may cause your pets to bolt out the door or someone could accidently leave a gate or door open. This information is vital to seeing that your pet is returned safely.

Some Foods Aren't Safe

Some foods are extremely harmful to pets, even in very small amounts. To make things worse, it's hard to keep track of which parts of your meals have which ingredients. So set a firm rule that people food should stay on the table. Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, can cause a rapid and dangerous drop in blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Chocolate and fatty meat scraps are very toxic to both dogs and cats.

Feed your pets before it's time for people to eat. A pet that has already eaten is less likely to look for food.

Keep All Medications Away

When you have guests over to your home, chances are pretty good that someone will bring medication, especially if those guests are staying the night. Make sure guests keep all medication and other toiletry and cosmetic items out of reach of curious pets. This includes toothpaste, which can be fatal to some pets in even minute quantities. Even many common over-the-counter pain medications can be deadly in minute quantities.