Our beloved pets do seem to enjoy the holidays – well, except when we make them wear hats.
They are clearly joyous that you have dragged inside a lovely tree so they don’t have to traipse through the snow to do their business. They are grateful for the Christmas cookies and glass of milk you leave very uncharacteristically in the living room one night. And they are so happy with the long socks you hang near the fireplace just for them to play with.
But a truly merry Christmas takes a little pup proofing. It’s no fun to spend Christmas Eve at the e-vet. Here are 10 ways to make sure you have a very happy holiday this year:
1. During the holidays, most animal-related ER visits are due to pets eating something inappropriate. Some foods cause upset stomachs, some are poisonous, and some can cause life-threatening obstructions. Tinsel and flashing Christmas lights are especially attractive and hazardous to cats. So keep them out of the way of little claws and paws.
2. Also watch your decorative plants. Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting. Poinsettias, despite their reputation, are not deadly and often cause little more than mild stomach upset. But it’s still best not to tempt fate by placing them where pupsters can snatch a sample.
3. Christmas ornaments are tempting. Maybe hang them up high on a tree or build a barrier around the tree to keep the pets from grabbing one or two for a nibble. The barrier is also a good idea if your dog likes to sample the water in the tree stand. That can make him sick. Best yet, put the tree in an “off limits” room.
4. Watch the candy dishes, too, and keep them out of reach of pets. No candy is good for pets and chocolate can be lethal.
5. During family gatherings and holiday parties, it might be best to keep pets confined. Not only can all the coming and going make some pets anxious, but the doors may be open more frequently and for longer times, and pets may try to escape.
6. Keep the people food snacks to a minimum. Yes, there will be lots of cooking going on and it’s easy to drop a few tidbits on the floor, but too much rich food won’t sit well with pets’ digestive systems. And it settles on their hips, Just as it does on us.
7. Be careful with candles. They shouldn’t be left unattended anytime, but candles on lower tables are especially vulnerable to being knocked down by rambunctious pets – with disastrous consequences.
8. Loud noises can panic some pets, and lead to injuries. Remember that before cracking out the New Year’s poppers, noise makers or champagne bottles.
9. When unwrapping presents, keep ribbons, paper, packing peanuts, bows and even batteries away from pets. Better yet, keep pets away from the whole present opening extravaganza.
10. Pick your own pet presents with care. And if you have multiple dogs, be careful when introducing high value goodies that can cause disagreements and destroy the holiday spirit.
SHUG wishes all of you the very best for the holidays and the happiest New Year.