The holidays stir up excitement and anticipation for loads of activities, meals, and decorations. But, if you’re a pet owner, you should also consider how festive plants, lighting and other changes around the household might impact the safety of your pets. So, how exactly can a pet owner best prepare for the holidays? There are 10 easy to follow, common-sense tips you can incorporate into your holiday plans to ensure your pets stay safe:
1. Secure, hide or cover electrical cords and electronics.
Holiday lights and decorations usually lead to many new cords being scattered around the house. Be sure all cords are taped down or completely out of reach for your pets as they can trip on them, chew them up, or even experience an electric shock.
2. Keep holiday foods out of a pet’s reach.
The holidays always inspire delicious food, drinks, and desserts. Remember, dogs can’t eat chocolate so make sure this is out of reach. Also, animals that ingest alcoholic beverages can experience nausea or upset stomach.
3. Keep your pet’s daily routine as consistent as possible.
The holidays are filled with tons of parties and activities that often change up our daily routines. Try to keep your pet on their regular daily routine because they don’t adapt to change very well.
4. Keep your pets out of rooms with a Christmas tree.
Although this may be difficult, the fact is that decorated trees pose too many dangers. Cats and dogs enjoy playing with dangling decorations and could knock over a tree or a glass ornament. Dogs may use a tree the same way they would outside, as an area to relieve themselves. If a pet accidentally eats a hook, ornament or tinsel, they could experience intestinal problems. Animals may also drink out of the water bowl which the tree sits in, so avoid adding chemicals to make the tree last longer.
5. Avoid long strings, lights, or décor in areas accessible to pets.
Pets always want to play and could easily mistake a string of lights as a toy. Unfortunately, this could lead to choking or other accidents.
6. Carefully watch candles.
Lighting scented candles are a great way to get in the holiday spirit. However, be sure to keep all flames and fires away from pets. They may get curious around a lit flame, which could lead to accidentally knocking the candle over.
7. Be careful with holiday plants.
There are many holiday plants that are dangerous for your pets. Common items such as mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and lilies can be poisonous to your dog or cat. Certain plants affect different animals and breeds in unique ways. Be sure to research how your specific pet(s) is affected by different plant species.
8. Update vaccinations and ID tags.
Make sure ID tags include your current address and contact information. This should be done year-round but is important during the holidays as we usually have many guests in our home. Guests aren’t always familiar with the day-to-day pet rules and could present opportunities where your pet could escape the house.
9. Create a safe haven for your pets.
Many pets have an area or room where they feel safe. This is especially important for your pet’s security during the holidays when there are many strangers around, as well as lots of loud noises (i.e. firecrackers on New Years). Pets need an area where they can retreat to if they are scared or overwhelmed.
10. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers for your pet.
You should always have the contact information for your veterinarian, a 24-hour pet hospital, and the Animal Poison Control Center easily accessible.
Follow these safety tips and help your pets enjoy the holidays, too!