HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS FOR DOGS:
- Exercise your dog before the party.
Some dogs are just fine with the arrival of unknown or unfamiliar party guests, for other dogs it is a traumatic experience or they get over excited, jump, lick, bark etc. A good way to combat this is a nice walk, run or trip to the dog park. It will help expend some energy, give you and your dog valuable one on one time and with any luck make the arrival of the guests a little less daunting.
- Secure the tree.
Christmas trees are beautiful. With all of the shiny ornaments, lights and the smell of pine. Its natural for a dog to be curious, to mistake an ornament for a dog toy, and sometimes, well, it IS a tree and accidents do happen! If you have a dog with an overly large or active tail things can get even more exciting as the tail wagging sends ornaments flying or worse, knocks the tree over. If you have fragile ornaments place them up higher out of the way. Same goes for “cookie” type ornaments. As a last resort you can corral your Christmas tree inside a short indoor play yard. They are adjustable and come in different sizes.
- Fireplace safety.
There’s nothing like enjoying a cup of hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies while snuggling with your pooch by the fire. But, be cautious. Although it is natural and instinctual for an animal to stay away, the fireplace can be a dangerous location for dogs wearing festive clothing like scarfs, sweaters or jackets. A stray piece of fabric can quickly ignite. Instead, avoid dressing your dog in holiday gear and be sure to use a screen on the fireplace. And, never leave your dog alone with a fire in the fireplace or in a room with a lit candle.
- Toxic plants and treats.
With all the colorful plants, decadent treats and tasty food out for the holiday celebrations, its only natural for your fur child to want to try some for themselves. To prevent this, keep all edibles and non-edibles out of reach. Purchase special holiday dog treats to include them in the festivities!
HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS FOR CATS:
- It’s a wrap!
Kitties LOVE LOVE LOVE sparkly ribbons, bells, gift tags and wrapping paper. It is not unheard of for them to chew on the brightly wrapped packages. The ribbons can be a choking hazard, and ingesting the wrapping paper or cellophane wrap can be toxic. If you find your purr child chewing on the packages make sure and put them where they are unable to get to them. A little tougher than dog proofing, I mean these guys can jump! Like with their canine counterparts, a play yard may help deter this behavior, and others that we will discuss down further.
- Trees are for climbing.
Wait! No! Not the Christmas tree. Whether you like it or not many kitties like to go on safari this time of year and it is NOT uncommon for them to be 4 feet high in your 8 foot tree peering at you from INSIDE the tree. This can cause the tree to tip, and trying to remove your feline friend from a fully decorated tree can be a daunting prospect. I find the misting bottle you use to mist the tree can also be a gentle deterrent if you spray in the direction of the kitty while he is thinking about jumping in.
- All the pretty lights and ornaments.
Who has NOT seen National Lampoons Christmas Vacation? Light strands may be tempting, and could have tragic circumstances if chewed on. This goes back to keeping the cat out of the tree, also helps if you make sure the lights are not hanging below the tree line. Cover up the start point at the base of the tree with your tree skirt, making it less tempting. Ornaments, if you have sparkly, fragile and/or heirloom ornaments hang them in the tree not at the end of the branches. Our purr children like to batt at balls, feathers, pretty much anything that sparkles, dangles and moves. If these ornaments are inside the tree they are less likely to end up on the floor, in pieces.
- MMM shrimp!!!
Our feline friends do not have as wide of a palate as our canine friends. Not as many treats appeal to them. Shrimp, Pate and other familiar scents and textures may appeal to them. Try your best to keep them out of the appetizers and off the appetizer table. Even the most pet friendly guests may be taken aback when the pate is being consumed by the cat, not to mention the aftermath of the pate consumption is NOT pretty.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!!!