The holiday season is quickly approaching, and we love to include our furry companions in these joyous celebrations. But, leave out some of the stress of party planning by keeping these tips in mind.
Plan a pet-friendly gathering
Holidays are a time to gather your loved ones close, furry or otherwise, but is your pet really a party animal? Not all animals enjoy a crowd, and not every person enjoys slobbery kisses from an exuberant canine or a coating of cat hair from a snuggly feline. To keep the peace, follow these guidelines:
- Before the guests arrive, ensure that your pet is safe and secure within the house. Door dashers can lead to disaster if a pet slips out through a horde of incoming family.
- If visiting relatives become too overwhelming, be sure that your pet has a private hideaway (maybe large enough for the both of you!). Provide a quiet resting place away from the hubbub of the crowd, and keep your shy pet occupied with her own entertainment. A cozy bed plus some treat puzzles, long-lasting chews, and interactive toys may entice you to join your furry companion in this hideout.
- Lavish extra attention on your pet before a party to keep her from feeling neglected and under-exercised. Or, while you’re focused on being the best host on the block, ask some of your animal-loving friends and family to give your pet some TLC.
- If you and your pet are the ones doing the traveling, be sure your pet is allowed to come along as well. Otherwise, arrange for boarding or a pet sitter well in advance of the holidays. Verify that all identification tags and microchip registrations contain current information, airline requirements are met, and that your pet is welcome at the holiday gatherings.
Avoid festive foods
A belly filled with ham and all the delicious trimmings may be a wonderful way to spend Christmas for you, but not for your dog or cat. Many festive foods can cause a host of problems ranging from mild gastrointestinal issues to even death. Keep these holiday treats out of paw’s reach:
- Chocolate — While white chocolate contains hardly any toxic theobromine, baker’s chocolate can do some major damage. Play it safe and keep all chocolates and chocolate-flavored treats away from curious pets.
- Sweets — A common sweetener, xylitol makes an appearance in sugar-free candies, baked goods, and more. Xylitol ingestion is a true emergency. Call us immediately if your pet scarfs down any treats containing this substance.
- Grapes and raisins — No one knows exactly how raisins and grapes cause death, but avoiding Grandma’s fruitcake and the grape-filled fruit tray is best for your pet.
- Fatty foods — In addition to packing on those extra holiday pounds, fatty foods can lead to severe pancreatitis. Avoid the turkey skin, ham, and mashed potatoes and gravy, and opt instead for fresh veggies or other pet-friendly options as snacks for your pet.
Ditch the decor
While we are mesmerized by flashing lights and sparkling tinsel, these shiny decorations may bewitch your pet as well. Avoid a potential pet hazard by steering clear of these decorative disasters:
- Toxic plants — Lush holiday plants are a mainstay of a beautifully-decorated home, but holly, mistletoe, certain types of lilies, and the Christmas tree itself can cause some serious issues for pets, even death. Keep your pet safe by choosing pet-friendly holiday greenery and blocking access to the tree.
- Lights, tinsel, and ribbon — While kittens tangling themselves in tinsel is a Christmas card-worthy image, one quick gulp can lead to a pricey emergency surgery to remove the gastrointestinal blockage. Inquisitive dogs or cats may also chew on lights and cords running throughout the house, risking electrocution.
- Pet costumes — A cat tolerating an elf costume may be a rare sight indeed, but all it takes is one quick slip for an adorable outfit to become a choking hazard. Ensure that any pet costume won’t block her vision or breathing and does not contain any loose pieces. (And, your pet wanted us to tell you that no costume is her favorite costume…)
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