If you have a pet or are thinking of getting a new pet over the holidays, you should take a few special precautions for the health and safety of your family pets. Animals tend to find all those special holiday items fun to play with or explore. Don’t let your holiday turn into a tragedy. Every year veterinarians treat animals for electrocution, ingestion of foreign objects, burns, cuts from broken glass, and poisoning from toxic plants or chemicals.
Think about how you can pet proof the following:
- Christmas Tree: Pets may knock it over, so you can either keep it in a room that can be closed off or put a barrier around it, such as baby gates or a portable kennel fence (this can help keep kids safe too). Keep those sharp pine needles swept up because they can cause intestinal problems if they’re ingested.
- Plants: A number of holiday plants are poisonous to pets, including holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia. Make sure they are placed where your pets can’t get to them.
- Ornaments/decorations: Tinsel, glass ornaments, electrical cords, and various edible decorations all can cause problems if they are ingested. Make sure they secured so animals cannot get to them.
- Food: chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine can make pets very ill, or even kill them in some cases. Do not give your pets any holiday food and keep platters of goodies out of their reach.
If you are thinking of getting a pet during the holidays, put a LOT of thought into it first. Getting an animal at any time requires a lot of thought and research. Add the normal distractions and activities of the holidays into the equation and you may put an undue amount of stress on yourself and the animal. That’s often not a great way to start a relationship. A pet is not a toy that can be returned or tossed aside when little Joey gets bored with it. Too many animals end up abused, dead, or in shelters around the holidays, so think long and hard about the temptation to get a pet during this time.
Part of the spirit of the holidays revolves around generosity and thinking of others. If you extend this feeling to your pets along with a littl