The holiday season can bring more visitors than usual to your home—which also brings a lot of new and potentially dangerous threats to you pets. Furthermore, the addition of every pet’s absolute fascination, the Christmas Tree, can bring further challenges in keeping your pet safe and healthy this season. So, let’s look at some best practices to keep your pet safe and sound this holiday season:
- Place aluminum foil and rattle-like ornaments around the base and lowest limbs of the Christmas Tree. This will alert you to a pet’s pending ascent.
- Hang tinsel high enough that your pet can’t reach it. Ingested tinsel can block intestines, which is usually solved with emergency surgery.
- Likewise, do not put lights low enough that your pet can get tangled in them or potentially bite through the wire (it happens, unfortunately).
- Be extra careful about breakable ornaments and pine needles—vacuum more than you think you need to. Pine needles and ornament shards are terrible when stuck inside a pet’s paws. Additional sweeping of the area typically prevents this from happening.
- Keep your tree watered, but do cover the water used. A pet might want to have a late-night drink from the water bowl under the tree. Use aluminum foil to cover the water basin. Do not use preservatives in the water, just in case.
- Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous to pets. Do your best to decorate with fake plants or other items to eliminate adding these toxic plants to your home.
- Be careful of burning candles—keep them on a sturdy surface and away from pet’s reach.
- Warn visitors about how alcohol, onions, mushrooms, walnuts, candy (chocolate especially), salt, garlic, and even macadamia nuts affect pets. Baking chocolate is worse than consumer chocolates, so if you think your dog ate an M&M before and was fine, please reevaluate your thinking. All chocolate should be off limits.
- Be sure to keep all “cookie” ornaments away from where your pets can reach them (salt-dough, sugar-dough, etc.).
Keeping your pet safe isn’t too complicated, but it does require special attention during holiday season. Visiting relatives and friends are the most likely cause of a dog or cat eating something they aren’t supposed to—visitors often do not know better. So keep reminding them and defending your pets, and know that’s why they love you so much.
Henry Duckstein Jr.