Updated: Sep 24, 2022
With Christmas just slightly over a month away, I thought I'd share some great tips to keep your pets and your sanity safe this holiday season. I'll share some great tips on pet-safe decorations, how to keep your pets and guests happy and safe, pet-safe and not-so-safe foods, and a few quick pet travel tips and tricks.
First up, Pet-friendly holiday decorations! I know that decking the halls is one of our favorite things to do for the holidays! But, it just doesn't seem like the holidays until the baubles and sparkly decorations start cascading around the house. However, as a senior furkid momma, I know firsthand that sometimes we must keep those curious and creative furkids in mind while decorating for any holiday, especially over the holiday season.
First up on the decorations tips list - oh, that tree! I'm fortunate, Ozzy and Poly-ana, and even Lisa-lee when she was still alive, never found any interest in climbing or terrorizing the Christmas tree or its decorations. Still, I know that not every furkid feels the same way about those sparkly trees. The most excitement we get is Poly-ana taking a snooze under the tree. However, I'm not biased; many furkids, but many a feline, especially, love to terrorize that sparkly golden tree. So the first tip is to ensure that your tree is secure, just in case they get curious. Another tree tip? Ditch the tinsel. While I have fond memories of tinsel on the tree (you have to love the 80s!), tinsel can be very dangerous for any fur kid if they consume it. Remember, if you have a live tree, those pine needles, if digested by Fido, can cause an issue with their digestive tract.
Additionally, when decorating with shiny balls and other favorite ornaments, especially glass ones, ensure they are too big for Fido to steal and swallow should they get curious. Lastly, tree safety tips keep those cords out of the mouths of curious furkids! Make sure to keep those cords out of reach and unplugged if you're heading out for the evening to enjoy those holiday festivities!
The next decoration safety tips are about keeping an eye out for is plants and all those tremendous smelling greeneries. While they make the house smell like the holidays, many of them are very toxic to Fido! Ones to take special note of include: Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettias, Amaryllis, Balsam, Pine, Cedar, & Lillies. All of these unique holiday plants are highly toxic to your furkids, so maybe opt for some fake greenery and plants for the holiday or keep them far out of Fido's curious paws and mouth.
Last but not least is all about those softly glowing candles. While they bring a certain vibe to the holiday feeling, they can be dangerous for your furkids and your home, especially if left unattended. So if you enjoy that soft-lit glow of candlelight, ensure you're in the room with Fido, just in case. And don't forget to blow them all out, especially if you're heading out for the evening.
Remember, if your pet ingests anything you're unsure about or starts acting oddly, be sure to contact your local vet ASAP!!!!
While we're on the topic of toxic things over the holidays for pets, let's talk about the main event - the FOOD! While the holidays are full of gastronomical delights for us, many of the foods we LOVE to (over) indulge in are highly toxic to our furkids. Some of the ones you should never give to Fido include Raw Bread Dough, Batter for cakes or cookies, chocolate, any "sugar-free" treats that use Xylitol (or Birch Tree Sap), Alcohol, Garlic + Onions, Grapes or Raisins, and Cooked bones.
That said, remember, Fido can indulge in other gastronomical delights for the holidays! They can enjoy a small amount of light meat turkey, bananas, apples, carrots, and pumpkin puree. Maybe make them their special holiday meal ahead of time while everyone else is enjoying their feast to ensure they do not beg (and receive) during the holiday mealtime.
When you're wrapping up dinner for the evening, it can be hard not to worry about Fido's nose getting them in trouble. Therefore, after ensuring the garbage is out of reach, be sure to try using a Kong or other puzzle toy or special treat that will keep them occupied and well away from the distraction of the garbage can. Of course, a great treat will also come in handy for our next topic.... the guests!
Guests visiting is one of the great joys of the holidays, despite the extra stress it can cause many of us, including our amazing furkids! So here are a few quick tips to help ensure everyone has a great time with as little stress as possible. Tip one, ensure Fido has a place to go to escape it all. Even the friendliest furkids must take five from the chaos of the holiday. Ozzy and Poly-ana both love to tuck away to unique quiet havens when we have many visitors during the holidays. Poly-ana enjoys being in my bedroom with her favorite things snuggled up on the bed, and guests know to leave her be if she sneaks into the bedroom for a reprieve. Ozzy is not a fan when things get too loud or filled with too many visitors, so she has her particular couch and basket in the office she meanders over to and takes a snooze while she enjoys being out from underfoot. If your furkid is extra nervous with strangers and the noises of the holidays, perhaps even consider using a kennel or a crate to keep them feeling safe and secure during the holiday rush. Another great tip is to ensure you exercise your furkid before all the company arrives; hopefully, they'll be a little more worn out and a little less enthusiastic when people come. Finally, don't forget as people come and go, they may not have a furkid at home and may not realize to keep an eye on the front door. Ensure you're watching the door as people enter and leave to ensure no crazy run-away moments ruin your holiday festivities! If you're unsure how to handle Fido over the holidays, reach out to your local dog trainer for ideas, tips, and tricks to make the holidays stay bright!
Last but not least, I have not forgotten about you travelers; here are a few tips and tricks for those traveling over the holidays! First, make sure to plan a pet sitter or boarding facility well ahead of time if you are leaving your furkids at home. Be sure to have a list of routines, feeding times, shots, vet records and your vet's phone number for emergencies for your pet sitter or boarding facility. If you're traveling with Fido, make sure to prepare for delays and other hazards of driving. Make sure you have lots of food, treats, water, poop bags, medications, bedding, and any other items they may need. Finally, keep Fido safe and secure with a harness or carrier when driving. While this may seem odd, this does help ensure their and your safety if the worst should happen.
I hope these ideas and tips help ensure you and Fido have the safest and happiest holiday seasons! Remember, if you are looking for more ideas or have questions, never hesitate to reach out to your local vets or dog trainers!