Holiday pet hazards lurk around the Christmas tree and dangle from the dinner table. Fortunately, keeping your furry friends out of the poinsettias and away from chocolate just takes a few simple strategies.
Decorate with pets in mind.
Dangerous decor is a big holiday season concern.
Greenery: Holiday plants like poinsettias, holly and mistletoe should be kept out of reach from your pets because they can cause upset stomachs, gastrointestinal distress and other problems. But even fake plants can hurt your pet. Surprising culprits for tummy troubles are loose needles from artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands.
Speaking of Christmas trees, remember to avoid using additives, such as fertilizers or home remedies like aspirin, in the water of a live tree’s base because they are often poisonous to your dog or cat if they choose to drink from it.
Climbing and chewing: Many pets instinctually get into trouble in a home decorated for the holidays. To prevent kitty from climbing up the Christmas tree, try placing aluminum foil around the tree base and under the tree. The texture and sound tin foil makes is unpleasant to cats, so they tend to stay away from it.
To discourage gnawing on electrical cords, use protective devices made for computer cables, like rubber or plastic cord ducts. Or, you could spray any bitter tasting pet products on cords to deter noshing.
Christmas ribbon can be a less obvious but attractive hazard to pets. Although beautiful and fun to play with, ribbon, tinsel and icicles can create an intestinal obstruction in dogs and cats.
At home or on the road: Don’t forget to secure your pet(s) during travel with a pet seatbelt or carrier. Slick roads can put an unrestrained pet (and human passengers) at risk. Also, using a crate can keep the family dog from nipping because of the stress of having guests in the house.
You should also be sure your pet has current identification tags as well, in case he or she should run out the door as you welcome guests inside.
Food is often a favorite part of holiday decor, from gingerbread houses to candy canes to oranges flanked with cloves. But some holiday treats can pose an immediate threat to animals. Chocolate for instance, is toxic to both cats and dogs, so take extra care when baking.
And rather than feeding Fido or Whiskers your holiday leftovers, plan ahead and put out pet-friendly treats. Lots of treats of a variety of festive shapes and colors are available at your local pet store. …and remember, moderation is the key!