The holidays are coming quickly! This is a time of year that we look forward to with great joy and anticipation. There are, however, things to keep in mind to make the holidays a safe and happy time for your pets as well. Here are some tips to help you keep your pets safe during the holiday season.
The Christmas Tree
One of the first things that comes to mind is the Christmas tree. While having a Christmas tree in the home is a tradition for many families, it can also be a source of danger for your pets.
Pets, especially cats will eat the tinsel. Eating the tinsel can block the digestive tract and cause severe health issues and even death of your beloved pet. Skipping tinsel may be a wise choice where there are pets in the house.
Ornaments that are fragile can be easily knocked down and broken causing potential injury, especially if the pet swallows a broken piece. Broken ornaments should be cleaned up immediately, and the floor around the area swept to prevent shards laying around.
Water for the tree can be a source of toxic fertilizer and harmful bacteria if your pets drink out of the reservoir. Make sure that your pets do not have access to the water at the base of the tree.
One of the most dangerous tree decorations are the beautiful twinkling lights. Light strands are very attractive to pets and if they chew on them, they can get burned, shocked or possible cause a fire. Make sure that all strands are unplugged when you are not at home or if you are not able to supervise.
If you feed your live tree to your livestock such as goats after the holidays, please be sure that all decorations are removed and if tinsel was used, do not feed it to the goats because tinsel is too difficult to completely remove and will pose the same threat as to your indoor pets.
Burning candles is a huge tradition in many homes around the holidays. Candles offer comfort and cheer and create a festive atmosphere. Unfortunately, they also pose a huge risk to the safely and well-being of not only your pets, but your entire family and home. Candles are easily knocked over or brushed against by unsuspecting pets. NEVER burn a candle unattended and it may be better to opt for an alternative such as warming wax tarts or plug-in holiday air fresheners.
You can also use essential oils to make your home smell good through the holidays and keep your pets safe.
Poisonous plants such as poinsettias, Mistletoe, Holly and Lilies can make your pets critically ill and turn your holiday upside down. While the toxicity of these plants has been greatly exaggerated they can still make your pet sick if they eat a multiple parts of the plant.
Tip: Read more about poisonous Christmas plants.
Holiday foods such as chocolates, and turkey bones can be a fatal temptation that your pets may not be able to resist. Keep foods that are toxic to pets out of their reach or in refrigerators and cabinets. Keep trash can lids on to protect and prevent your pets from digging through the trash and choking on bones and other items that have been discarded.
Tip: Is decorating for Christmas with winter berries good or bad?
Keeping Pets Secure
Holidays are a time when family and friends visit and spend time together. While this is something that you may look forward to, it can be a stressful time for your pets. You may want to consider giving them a quiet room to retreat to, and please make sure that you and your guests are aware that as you may go in and out, your pets may try to sneak out while the front door is open. Never leave the door open longer than necessary, because even a well behaved pet that never would try to escape otherwise, may become stressed out and choose that moment to hightail it out of your house. This is a good time to also make sure that your pets are wearing ID collars and/or have them micro-chipped.
Pet-proof Your Home
There you have some tips to make your holidays safer and more enjoyable for your pets. This is not an exhaustive list of all the dangers that may unfortunately befall your household at this time of year. It would be wise to take time during the season to “pet-proof” your decorations and home, much as you would child-proof it.
Do you have any tips to add? We’d love for you to leave them in the comments!