It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The holiday season is here once again, helping us close another year with a festive "Bang!" The holidays bring fun, food, family, friends, and festive decor. However, for those of us with furry family members, this busy season presents it's own special set of challenges. Between the tree and other chew-worthy decor, the food, the sweet treats, and the guests, there are a lot of ways for your pet to land themselves on the naughty list. To make it as easy as possible to get your pet back in Santa's good graces, we have a few simple tips for you to keep in mind this holiday.
O Christmas Tree
Christmas trees and curious pets can often be a dangerous combination. A knocked-over tree can cause more than just a big mess, it can potentially damage your home, priceless family heirlooms, and your pet! If you put up a tree this year, you might consider keeping it blocked off from your pet. A good way to do this is to use a baby gate to block entry to the tree room. If keeping your pet out isn't an option for you, try putting your tree tucked away in a corner. This helps in a few things:
- Putting your tree out of the way may make it less tempting for your pets.
- If they still want to jump on it, the corner gives two supporting walls for it to lean on, instead of falling over.
- Two walls will also limit the area exposed to your pet.
If your pet still wants to jump on the tree, it's a good idea to put noise makers on the bottom branches to warn you of your pets naughty behavior. Festive jingle bells are a good option, since they are both functional and stylish.
Deck the Halls!
Festive decorations are an important part of capturing the spirit of the season, but not all of our favorite decorations are safe for our pets. Keep these decorating tips in mind for a pet-friendly holiday:
- When using tinsel, be sure to hang it out of reach! Ingesting those tempting shiny strands can cause intestinal blockage and result in a trip to the vet.
- Be careful with glass ornaments! If one breaks, the glass fragments can damage paws, and some dogs may think a round ornament is a ball and try to bite it. Hang them high and out of reach to avoid accidents!
- Shatterproof plastic ornaments are a great alternative for filling out the bottom of the tree.
- Avoid edible decorations, like cookie ornaments, and popcorn or cranberry garlands. These can be too tempting for some pets to resist!
- If you decorate with fresh holly, mistletoe, or poinsettias, be sure to keep them out of reach from your pets. These plants are toxic to both cats and dogs.
Parties for Hosting
The holidays wouldn't be the same without company to celebrate with you. However, all the excitement can be too much for our pets and make it easier for them to get into trouble without you knowing. Here are some things to remember when friends come to call:
- While a turkey and some mistletoe may help to make your season bright, they can make your pet really sick! While setting the table, leave festive notes reminding guests not to feed table scraps to the pets and to keep alcoholic beverages out of reach.
- On the day of the party, feed your pets an early dinner before you serve your guests. If your pet's tummy is full, he may be less tempted to beg for food at the table.
- If your pet easily becomes stressed at parties and social gatherings, create a safe place for him with his favorite toys away from the festivities.
- If your pet wants to be a part of the party, keep his favorite treats on hand and make sure they are rewarded for good behavior.
- Even during the holidays, training needs to remain consistent. If you are working on a behavioral issue like begging with your pet, be sure to remain firm in your stance with him and insure that your guests are aware that your pet is in training.
- With the coming and going of guests, there will be plenty of opportunity for your pet to sneak out, so be sure your pet's microchip and tag information is up to date!
- You may also consider letting your neighbors know when you're having your holiday party and ask them to call you if they see your pet outside unattended.