The most-awaited occasion by many is just around the corner. Christmas is now only 65 days away!
As early as September, we have been preparing for this love-filled and happy day for everyone.
Preparing for the holidays is both exciting and tiring though. We can be so busy that we might forget some important things that can harm our pets.
“While many pets are adaptable to the holidays, and can find them exciting just like you do, there are some hazards you will want to look out for to make this season safe and fun for everyone," said Amy Dyck in 9 Holiday Hazards for Pets in the site, Home Alive Pets.
Dyck listed items to keep away from pets and what to avoid:
1. Seasonal Plants
A lot of the popular plants during the holiday season are “moderately toxic” to dogs and cats. Some can cause severe problems.
Please keep your pets away from poinsettias, holly, ivy, and mistletoe.
Pine needles can also cause upset stomach and even perforations when ingested by your pet.
“Keep toxic plants out of reach, watch for missing leaves or berries, and opt for artificial whenever possible,” Dyck stressed.
2. Fires and Candles
For those living in countries where there is snow or it is very cold, owners do opt for fireplaces to keep themselves warm.
Also, “warm fireplaces and the glow of candles evoke strong holiday memories,” Dyck said.
Thus, owners in countries like the Philippines love to light candles.
But Dyck warned: “For playful and curious pets, however, they can be a serious risk. Keep candles out of reach where a pet cannot knock them over or brush past. Always use a secure fireplace screen. Snuff candles and douse fireplace embers completely before leaving your pet unattended with them.”
Dyck noted that a lot of the decors look like toys to pets and “should be used with caution and supervision.”
She said: “Tinsel and other shiny, stringy ornaments should be watched closely or avoided with cats, as it can cause internal blockages if ingested or tangle the cat.”
She added: “Be wary of small ornaments that can be swallowed completely and especially any edible ornament such as popcorn strings or dough ornaments. Choose durable ornaments over glass that can be broken and leave shards. Artificial snow is also toxic and should be avoided.”
While putting up decors, Dyck suggested that owners keep their pets away from the decorations and to keep them busy with their favorite or new toy.
“Have a beautifully decorated house with pets and enjoy the holidays knowing your family is safe, “ Dyck said.
Gifts wrapped in colorful papers and tied with ribbons look so nice under the Christmas tree or on the gift table.
But Dyck stressed: “Edible gifts such as those containing chocolate, candies, or baking should not be accessible. Chocolate, coffee, liquor, and other ‘people’ foods can be toxic to pets (even in small quantities). Keen noses might also pick up on scented candles and soaps and mistake them for food, so keep these gifts tucked safely away.”
She added: “Ribbons and bows, as well as wrapping paper can cause harm if ingested by your pet. Ribbons can bind your pet, contain wires that can puncture, or cause blockages if ingested.”
Please make sure electrical cords cannot be reached by pets who love to chew.
“Electrical cords are everywhere around the holidays. Keep cords away from chewing pets by taping them to walls, using cord protectors, or by hiding them behind furniture, under carpets, or under a tree skirt. Taste deterrents or indoor repellents can keep pets from chewing cords and away from trees or other decorations,” Dyck said.
The holiday stress affects both people and pets.
“Keep things as consistent as possible to ease stress on your dog or cat. Amidst your busy schedule, keep pet mealtimes and exercise as regularly as you can. Be careful how much time your pet is spending at home alone. If you can't make it home to play with, exercise, and feed your pet on certain days, ask a friend or hire a dog-sitter to do just that. Is your house a whole lot busier than usual? Make sure your pet has a quiet place to retreat to. Even if your pet likes to be the center of attention, you may want to give him some mandatory quiet time so he can relax,” Dyck said.
“Lastly, make sure you schedule some time just with you and your pet. Whether it's a lovely walk in the snowy streets or cuddling on the couch, your pet will appreciate that you take the time just for them - even when you're busy,” Dyck added.
A Christmas tree can pose some problems.
“The tree is the staple of every holiday decorator, but it presents hidden risks to your pet. If you have a live tree, make sure treated water is out of reach of thirsty pets, as it can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea or vomiting. Watch that your dog or cat is not ingesting pine needles that can puncture and cause stomach discomfort,” Dyck said.
It is also important to keep the tree stable and sturdy, and it should be placed away from a furniture which your pet can use as a ladder.
“Automated spray repellants or other training aids are products that may help you safely keep your dog or cat away from the tree or other holiday decorations. Sometimes, a simple fix such as placing aluminum foil at the base of the tree, or hanging a jar of coins (or other noisy knickknacks) on the lower branches where your cat may climb can deter curious cats. Cats hate the feel of foil on their paws and don't like the sound of rattling coins,” Dyck said.
8. Holiday Food
Admittedly, we all are excited about the food during the holiday season! We wonder what the members of the family will bring for the yearly reunion, or what our mom will serve this time.
“Food is a big theme around the holidays, but that can spell out trouble for your pet if you aren't keeping close watch. Many of the most toxic human foods for pets are common during the Christmas season, such as chocolate, liquor, nuts, and high-fat foods such as gravy and pastries,” Dyck warned.
She added: “High-fat foods, such as many table scraps that include gravy or fried foods, can cause pancreatitis, which is a common diagnosis over the holidays and can result in death if not treated promptly.
“Cooked bones, while not a human food, per se, are also a related hazard to pets over the holidays. Cooked bones, in comparison to raw bones, are brittle and can cause intestinal blockages or perforations if ingested, “Dyck said.
Dyck also said: “Avoid open bowls of food and don't leave food, boxes of chocolate (particularly chocolate liqueurs), alcohol, or leftovers where they can be accessed by a curious pet. Keep garbage secure, both indoors and out, for your pet's safety and others'. “
Most families have guests during the Christmas season. Please inform your guests of some things that will make sure everything will go well for both humans and pets.
1. Please tell your guests not to give table food or scraps to pets.
2. Watch the children, specially when they are around pets. “Often, kids misinterpret pet cues and are unaware of the risks involved. Watch your pet closely. When under stress or frightened, pets that are normally even-tempered can become aggressive, “ Dyck stressed.
3. Explain to your guests that bringing their pets can cause stress as you will have to keep watch over your pets and the visiting pets. “Unless you know them and are able to keep a close watch, say no to visiting pets. New visiting pets can add stress to an already anxious pet, which could result in aggressive behaviour or acting out,” Dyck said.
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