Give Your Pet Happy Holidays
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of feasting and celebration, and it’s natural to want to share the good times with your pet. But just as people have different responses to the season (some humans get the Christmas blues, for example) our pets experience the holidays differently than we do. For them, the holidays can be a disorienting and frightening time, with New Year’s Eve fireworks and houses full of loud, unfamiliar people creating an atmosphere that’s anything but jolly.
Here are some tips to help you keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays.
Many human holiday treats are toxic to pets. Turkey, baked goods, chocolate, and yeast are all dangerous for pets. No matter how convincing those puppy dog eyes may be, stay strong and keep the human food for the humans. If you really want to treat your pet, get special animal treats from a dog bakery or look for pet-safe recipes online. Be sure to keep leftovers and garbage where your pet can’t get them, too.
Holiday gatherings are stressful for people and pets alike. But people can calm their nerves with a cocktail, or stick close to a buddy for moral support. Only water is safe for pets to drink, and sticking close to a trusted human will likely get a pet stepped on. Consider locking your pet up during parties. It might feel like you’re snubbing them, but most animals will be safer and happier in a quiet room with a chew toy than in the thick of things.
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Okay, if your dog has short hair and gets cold in the winter, there’s probably no harm in a Christmas sweater. But many holiday decorations can be dangerous. Poinsettias and other houseplants are toxic. Cats have been known to break glass Christmas tree ornaments “on their way to the top” and if you’ve ever accidentally leaned too close over a candle you can imagine outcomes when candles and a flicking tail come together. Make sure to secure trees so animals can’t knock them over, and skip the tinsel if you have pets.
If you will be traveling over the holiday season, be sure to schedule a pet sitter or boarding facility well in advance of your travel dates. If you plan
to bring your pet with you, make sure you’ve done your homework in advance. Your destination may require you to obtain a health certificate. Talk to your vet about the risks and precautions related to air travel and how to keep your pet safe on a road trip.