The holiday season seems to start with Halloween and run straight through the New Year. That means there will be tons of food and activity over the course of a two month period. While you are having tons of fun with family and friends, it’s important to keep your pets and their safety in mind. Don’t forget the following important tips.
Pets and Plants
People are more likely to bring unusual plants into their homes during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. These plants are often interesting and smell different to your pets. Dogs and cats alike may be attracted to plants like mistletoe, lilies, holly, and poinsettias. All of these plants can cause health problems and should be avoided or placed far out of reach.
Holiday Cords and Chew Toys
My cat loves to chew on strings, ribbons, and chains. Wires look like strings to pets – both dogs and cats – and your pet may notice the extra wires from holiday lights, electric candles, and other fixtures. Make sure you cover the cords up or tape them down to prevent your pet from noticing, chewing, and becoming injured. It’s best to leave your indoor lights unplugged when you’re not home, too.
Pets and Visitors
There are a couple of problems with pets and visitors that you should be conscious of around the holiday season. First, your pet may be fine with your family but may become skittish around visitors. Skittish pets can become scared and aggressive, or they may be excited and try to run out the door as guests come and go. If your pet isn’t excited about visitors, designate a separate room for him to have during your party – a bedroom, finished basement, or somewhere you can leave him to be warm with his food and water.
The other problem is that holiday festivities make pets curious. You may think it’s fine to leave your pet outside on a lead or in his open yard, but if he’s anxious to see who is coming and going he may try to jump the fence. A friend of mine, sadly, just saw a dog get strangled when he tried to jump a fence. His collar got caught and he could not breathe. If he had a breakaway collar, he may have escaped his yard but he’d likely still be alive. Be conscious of where your pet is and what he’s doing at all times.
There are a couple of important food and digestion issues to keep in mind around the holidays. First, there are plenty of human foods – like onions, garlic, and chocolate – that your pets should not have because of their toxic properties. Even if you do give your pet a little bit of fresh turkey or some other food, make sure you do it in a very limited manner so as to avoid nasty gastrointestinal upset.
The other problem is intestinal blockages. Cats especially loves ribbons, strings, and shiny tinsel. They’ll ingest these items while playing and chewing and they will get caught in their intestines, causing a blockage. In many cases, blockages can only be cleared surgically – if they’re caught. Keep your pet safe by keeping him away from dangerous items.
Your holiday household needs to be safe not only for your family, but for your pets as well. Take precautions to ensure everyone is cared for and you’ll have a wonderful holiday season together.
About the Author: Jeffry Tobery is a home improvement specialist who works on small projects like weatherstripping, painting, and minor indoor repairs. He finds that many people forget about their pets during the holidays, causing small accidents that could have been prevented with a little care.