People & Pets: 9 Holiday Safety Tips for the Entire Family
Now more than ever pets are considered members of the family and in my home it is no different.
My husband and I have a very large, very adorable and very curious Boxer named Oscar De La Hoya (Oscar for short). Oscar has special blankets, a basket of toys, an eating area in the kitchen and a routine that includes outside walks, inside play time and lots of care and attention. We love him.
And just like it may be for you during the holiday season, it can also be a stressful time for your pet. There are many people coming and going from the home, they are told ‘no’ a lot more than usual and sights, sounds and smells are different.
To help make the season a little less stressful for both people and pets alike, here are 9 tips to consider from the SPCA for a safer household this holiday:
- Securely Anchor Your Christmas Tree. So it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to you or your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Cats, in particular, will try to climb a tree, play with shiny ornaments and be attracted to lights.
- Avoid Mistletoe & Holly. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Potted poinsettias can also be easily tipped over. There is often fertilizer in these plants along with sharp, glittery decorations.
- Keep Tinsel To A Minimum. Kittens love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. Any kind of string, ribbon or bow can be a digestive nightmare both for your pet and you when you are dealing with it.
- Don’t Leave Lighted Candles Unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Same with small children. Scented candles can either have an attract or repel effect on your pet. Always keep any lit candle high and away on shelves or tables. Keep open flames in a study candle holder.
- Wires, Batteries And Ornaments Should Always Be Out Of Paws’ Reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract along with causing serious cuts on paw pads and bodies.
- Table Food Is For Guests Only. Rich and fatty foods will cause serious digestive problems for pets. Be very mindful of holiday treats and snacks, especially chocolate, hard candies and nuts. Little bowls of goodies and open candy boxes are great for guests but all of these treats will harm your pet.
- Cocktails Are Not For Kitties. Alcohol causes animals to be lethargic, nauseous and
unbalanced. It can be lethal. Ice cubes are a summer treat for many pets but can be dangerous when they are in a holiday drink. Eggnog, punches and soda can smell good but are not good for animals. Water is all that your pet should drink.
- Separate Young Children & Pet Toys. It’s common for animals to confuse whose are whose.
It’s common for pets to be in trouble when they grab and go with a little one’s new holiday gift. Babies and puppies are both confused and everyone is in trouble.
- Have A ‘Go To’ Pet Spot. During the holiday season, we open our home to family and friends. Making sure your pet has a safe “go to” spot all of their own should be a priority. Festivities get loud, busy and bright. Not all guests are dog or cat people. Make sure you have a spot to take them out of the mix and they can relax.
Ensuring all members of your family are safe over the holiday season helps make everyone feel better. From our family of people and pets to yours, Happy Holidays!
Vice President of Education & Staff Development