If you’re like me, the holidays evoke warm, fuzzy visions of settling in for a happy Christmas movie while enjoying hot chocolate by the fire and keeping cozy in snuggly pajamas. While I stopped believing in Santa Clause a long time ago, I still believe in the magic of the season. It fills me with childlike excitement and anticipation of family traditions. While this is a joyous time of year for humans, it can also be a dangerous time for curious four-legged family members. In keeping with the season, I’d like to share with you my Five Holiday Safety Tips for Pets.
Christmas Tree Ornaments While this first tip doesn’t involve a partridge or a pear tree, it does involve your Christmas tree. Inquisitive pets (okay probably mostly cats) are often drawn to shiny objects, particularly if those objects happen to be dangling from something. If you do have such a curious family member in residence, I would suggest hanging breakable ornaments up high on the tree and out of reach. Curious kitties may also attempt to climb the tree (or use it as a scratching post) which could cause the tree to tip over and potentially injure your pet. Moral of the story: make sure you tree has a very secure stand! Another tip to help reduce the chances of a tree (CAT)astrophe would be to place your tree in a corner. Furthermore, needles from Evergreen trees can get stuck in your pet’s intestines which could result in an emergency trip to the vet. Lastly, if you have a live tree, make sure your pets don’t drink the tree water as it could lead to upset tummies for both cats and dogs.
Holly & Mistletoe
My second tip isn’t about two turtle doves, but it is about two other things that you might not know are poisonous to dogs and cats. I’m talking about holly and mistletoe. If you do decorate your house with these plats, make sure they are kept in areas your pet cannot get to. The same holds true for these other popular holiday plants: - Poinsettias - Amaryllis
Food Another one of the things I love about this time of year are the special meals had with family (and the delicious food that is served!) Whether you’re entree includes a French hen, roasted turkey or honey baked ham resist the urge to share your table scraps with that adoring puppy that is looking up at you with this eyes. Many foods that are fine for us to eat can be toxic for pets. Some of these foods include: raisins, grapes and onions and believe it or not turkey and turkey skin can sometimes cause Pancreatitis in pets which is a life-threatening condition. I don’t know about you, chocolate is a staple in my home (even more so during the holidays). Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and cats- even in small amounts. Pets can still be part of the festivities and indulge in special treats- as long as those special treats are formulated for them!
Guests You may not have four calling birds, but chances are you might have guests come calling! Keep in mind that pets (even those that aren’t normally shy) may find all the commotion of a holiday gathering stressful. Pets should have access to a comfortable, quiet place in your home where they can retreat from the excitement should they choose to. With the potential of many people coming and going, you’re going to want to keep a good eye on the front door to avoid a runaway pet! Make sure your pet has a collar with identification with your contact information. Loud noises like music or boisterous chatter might also upset your four legged, particularly if you have an anxious kitty or a senior citizen pet. Same rule as above would apply: make sure they have a quiet haven to escape to.
Travel If five golden rings aren’t in your future, but holiday travel is, here are my top five travel tips: 1.) Travel by Car: Chances are many of you will be traveling by car this holiday season. If that’s the case, pets should always be safely restrained by using a secure harness or pet carrier. They should also be place in the back seat so that they are clear of airbags. Pets should never
be left alone in the car in any extreme weather.
2.) Travel by Air: If planning on taking your pet on a flight, make sure you understand what the
airline requires. Equally as important is to learn the requirements of your final destination.
Santa’s reindeer may not need a health certificate for their annual trip around the world, but your pet will! You should also talk to your vet as air travel can be stressful for some pets
depending on their age, overall health, etc. 3.) Boarding your dog while you travel? Talk with
your veterinarian to find out how best to protect your pet from canine flu and other contagious diseases, and to make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines.
3.) Boarding your Pet: Speak with your veterinarian to find out how to ensure your pet is
protected from contagious diseases such as canine flu. Your pets vaccines should also always be up-to-date. Last, but certainly not least- make sure you do your due diligence when researching and vetting out boarding facilities. You want to have the peace of mind that your baby is in the best possible hands while you’re away. I would especially recommend hiring a professional pet sitter to come care for your pet in your home (not so subtle plug!)
4.) Packing: In addition to having medical records with you, make sure your pet has proper
identification should it become lost. You also want to remember any medications, food and of course, toys!
5.) Creature Comforts: keep a familiar toy or blanket with your pet during travel to help it feel
more comfortable. Thundershirts are great for anxious pups and my “go to” for travel with my
kitty are Feliway wipes.
No matter where or how you spend the holidays this year, the Posh Pets team wishes you and your family members (two legged and four legged) a happy, healthy holiday season! If you have any questions or want additional information, please contact us.
About the Author The daughter of an award-winning travel writer, Kimberly has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has had articles published in numerous publications. She got her first puppy from Santa Claus when she was four years old and has never known a life that didn’t include four-legged family members. An animal advocate, she has rescued pets, volunteered at shelters and has even been known to nurse an injured sparrow back to health. When she’s not busy running a successful pet care business and providing care to her four-legged customers, you can rest assured that she is pampering her 19-year-old kitty, Scout.