December is a wonderful time of year, with lots of festivities, food, and fun. When we get busy with decorating, baking, and shopping, we shouldn’t overlook our four-legged friends who can get caught up in the excitement as well.
Here are 6 tips to keep them safe this holiday season.
Since the decorations only come out once a year, your pet will be curious about what the new additions are to their living space. They may smell, lick, or try to eat them. Glass ornaments are a concern as they may break, and the shards can injure your pet’s mouth, or cause internal injuries. Also be aware of the hooks you use to hang your ornaments as they are sharp. You may consider hanging your ornaments higher so the pets can’t reach them.
If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure it isn’t wobbly and is anchored securely in place in case your pet jumps on it. Make sure your pets can’t get to the water, especially if there are additives to keep the tree fresh longer. Sap, which can be toxic, may leach into the water, and stagnant water can contain bacteria that makes your pet sick. If possible, put your tree in a room with a door so you can keep your pets out when you’re not home.
Avoid tinsel if you have cats! They are attracted to the long strands of plastic, and if they eat it, the tinsel can cause a blockage or easily wrap around their intestines, both of which can be deadly.
There are several different types of plants and festive foliage that people like to display for the holidays. But there are some that can be toxic to your pets.
Keep the poinsettias where your pet can’t reach it. If ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe and holly are usually hung high, but before you hang it and when you take it down, be sure that your pet doesn’t eat the leaves or berries. Especially pay attention since mistletoe and holly will dry out and the leaves and berries can fall to the floor. If they eat a large enough amount, it can cause seizures, cardiovascular issues, and possibly even death.
Many holiday floral arrangements contain lilies, which are very hazardous, especially to cats. If your kitty takes a bite or two, it can cause kidney failure.
Make sure your pets are comfortable around other people and introduce them slowly to guests they’ve never met before. Ask those who stay overnight to be sure and keep any medications out of reach. Ask that they don’t feed your pet anything you haven’t approved. Also make sure that they pay attention any time they open the door, so your pet doesn’t run outside if they’re not supposed to. You could put signs on the doors as a reminder.
Give your pet a quiet, safe place to go. Too many people and too much noise can cause anxiety. Remember to have fresh water and their bed available so they can snuggle up. Try to keep them to their normal routines as much as you can.
4. Electrical Cords
If your pet is a chewer, be careful with the electrical cords you use for Christmas lights. The live wires can cause burns, electrocution, and seizures. If you aren’t at home, make sure the cords are unplugged, and when you are at home, supervise your pets.
On top of that, the lights attached to the cord are sparkly and attractive. They can cause injury if your pet chews those lights. Besides electrocution, they can also suffer cuts to their mouth or internal injury from sharp objects. And because chewed wires are exposed, there is an added fire danger. Cats don’t like aluminum foil, so wrapping the cords with it may deter them. Also, bitter apple spray can be used (let dry before plugging in) to keep your critters away from the cords.
5. Gifts and Gift Wrap
The excitement of opening gifts gets our pets excited too. They see the wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons tossed to the side. They might think they are toys, so be sure that ribbons don’t get around their neck or paws, and they aren’t eating the gift wrap, bows and ribbons.
Flames in the fireplace, and on candles and menorahs are festive. But if your pet gets too close, it can burn their skin, or they could tip them over with their paw or tail and cause a fire. Put a fireplace screen in front of your fireplace and put your candles up high, out of reach. When you leave the room, extinguish your candles.
These holiday tips will help you have a safe holiday season and will keep your pets safe. If you have any questions about holiday safety, please call Dr. Newman at 208-233-2844.