The holidays are around the corner again and it’s time to start the preparations! It’s a wonderful time of year to get together with family and friends. But in all the hustle and bustle, don’t overlook the four-legged members of your family!! Here are ten tips that will help you and your pet have a safe and holly, jolly holiday.
1) Keep Your Pets on Their Regular Schedule
With everything going on during the holiday it can be easy to disrupt or even neglect your daily routine. While you will likely bounce back just fine (maybe with a few extra pounds to show for it), your pets will fare much better if you keep their walking, playtime, and eating schedule the same.
Pro tip: Take time every day to give your pet attention and set a goal to squeeze in a ten minute walk every day, no matter what.
2) Protect Your Pets from Poisonous Food and Plants
You probably already know that chocolate can be poisonous to your pet. But did you know that most other candy, poinsettias, and many lilies can present a problem too? The holiday season presents more hazards than usual which, combined with distraction and less supervision, can spell disaster! So keep your treats locked away, hang your stockings a little higher, and avoid leaving candy or other food items under the tree within easy reach.
Pro tip: Visitors and children may not know of the dangers certain things present to your animals so keep a close eye out and always take a moment to educate them. You never know whose pet you’ll save.
3) Don’t Give Your Dog Turkey or Chicken Bones
It may be tempting to let your dog chow down on the left over bones of your holiday bird of choice, but don’t do it. The bones are easily swallowed and splinters could cut their mouths or worse, cause major internal damage.
Pro tip: Give your dog a rawhide bone, Kong, or other pet approved chew treat.
4) Anchor Your Tree to a Wall and Keep Tinsel and Electrical Cords Out of Reach
The tree is looking great! Now take a few extra minutes to scan the area for loose lighting, tinsel, and electrical cords in reach of your pet. Errant cords can present a choking, entanglement, or shock hazard to pets that don’t know better than to play in them. The tree itself can potentially pose a hazard if it’s not sturdily anchored to the wall.
Pro tip: Spend a little extra money for a sturdy tree stand, and hide dangerous cords under the tree’s skirt.
5) Take Precautions to Keep Visitors from Accidentally Letting Your Pet Out
The holidays, if nothing else, usually mean lots of company and commotion. If you’re expecting a constant barrage of visitors coming and going, be sure your animals are not going to beeline it for the open door. Having a place to contain your pet when there’s lots of in and out can help. So will reminding your guests to close the door in between trips to the car for gifts!
Pro tip: In the days leading up to the holidays, teach your dog that they are not to run out of an open door without your permission. Keep your cat in a closed room or crate when you’re expecting guests if they have a tendency to run.
6) Keep New (People) Toys Away From Your Dog
Your new PlayStation controller may become your dog’s next chew toy if you’re not careful.
With all the commotion the holidays bring, it can be easy to forget to keep track of all the new toys, batteries, screws, trinkets, and cords that come with unwrapping gifts. Those can quickly find their way into the mouths’ and bellies’ of your pets and pose a serious hazard.
Pro tip: Just as we’re careful to baby-proof a house, doggy-proof your house for the holidays and keep all your new toys and gadgets up and away where our four-legged friends can’t reach them.
7) Use Candles with Caution
Nothing quite sets the holiday mood like a scented candle can. The warm glow and sweet smell fill the room and transform it to a winter wonderland. Your pets may also find the glow and scent alluring so be sure that all candles, warmers, and holders are placed out of reach and unencumbered so you can enjoy without any worry.
Pro tip: Always extinguish candles before you leave the house!
8) Don’t Leave Your Animal Outside in Freezing Conditions
It’s Utah, and it gets cold here. Most animals will not do very well in freezing conditions and will need a warm place to go when temperatures drop.
If your animal spends a lot of time outdoors, provide it with a warm, dry shelter that is raised off the ground and plenty of food and water.
Pro tip: After walks, clean your dog’s paws of the salt and other chemicals that are used to melt snow before they lick them.
9) Keep Your Pet on Their Diet, Say NO to People Food
It can be so hard to say no when they’re looking up at you with their big, sad eyes—but resist the temptation to feed your pets people food and you’ll be doing them a much bigger favor. More often than not table food is just too fatty for your pet to digest properly. Additionally, there are a number of foods that may be perfectly safe for human consumption but are, in fact, toxic to dogs.
Pro tip: Ask your guests not to give your pet table scraps and offer them a small treat to give them instead.
10) Give Your Pet a Safe, Quiet Place to Go When Things Get Wild
Animals are easily overexcited, especially if there is more commotion than usual going on. The holidays almost always define commotion. Between people coming and going, new smells, new faces, loud noises, and the general fervor in the air, it can get wild, quick. For times when you can’t take your pet out to release and work out some of the excitement, make sure they have a safe place to go in the house. A quiet, peaceful area free of distraction and stimuli will go far in keeping your pet happy and calm.
Pro tip: If you’re anticipating a lot of brouhaha, take your dog on a long walk or for lots of exercise beforehand.
Preparation goes a long way. Have a Meowy Christmas and a Pawsome New Year!