T’is the season to celebrate the holidays and we all have the picture perfect celebration in our minds. Of course, more often than not, something happens and the Norman Rockwell image goes out the window. You can visit YouTube for endless videos of trees crashing, presents being shredded and turkey stealing dogs. Take it from me, over the years those become the treasured memories that provide the laughter and love.
Most of us consider our dogs, cats, and other pets family and include them in the holiday festivities. The trick is to make sure they don’t start hating the whole Christmas season.
Here are 7 things to remember to keep the
• Oh, Christmas Tree
To you it is a fresh cut beautiful Christmas tree. To your dog and cat, it is an indoor toilet and jungle gym. There is even a convenient water bowl for them. If you add chemicals to that water, make sure it is covered so your pet can’t drink it. Christmas trees are beautiful but they can pose dangers for our pets.
Place your tree in a safe corner and make sure it is properly anchored. It’s a good idea to block access to the tree while you are not home to supervise the pets. Both real and artificial tree needles can stomach problems if ingested.
• Is this for me?
You can put a bone in a box, wrap it, tape it, tie it up in a bright red bow with a Do Not Open Until Dec. 25th warning tag dangling. A dog’s sense of smell is 40x stronger than ours. They know there is a bone in a box and there is a good chance they will want it sooner rather than later. Keep these gifts out of reach until the big day.
Ribbons and wrapping paper can cause intestinal trouble if eaten. Be aware of any potential hazardous gifts that are under the tree if you have a gift opening pet.
• Rockin’ Around the Christmas tree
The tinsel, the balls, the lights, shimmering icicles, and heirloom ornaments look lovely adorning your tree. Beware of wagging tails that can unhook every bobble. Speaking of bobbles, did you notice the ornaments look just like the toys you wave in front of your cat all year long.
It is a good idea to keep the lower branches bare of decorations and lights. Tinsel can become tangled around your pet’s tongue. If they swallow it, it can cause serious intestinal trouble including blockage.
•Visions of sugar plums
Candy canes, cookies, decadent treats and alcohol can be found at most holiday parties. Dog and cats will help themselves to all of these party favors if given the chance. You have to say, “Ho, ho ho! No, no, no!” or you’ll be jumping out of bed to the sound of your pet puking. Nobody wants to do that!
If you have company visiting for the holidays, make sure they know the rules about feeding your pets. You know how hard it is to resist those puppy dog eyes.
• Santa Paws
You always imagine photos with Santa being loads of fun. Sitting on Santa’s knee and smiling at the camera with their tongue hanging happily out of their mouths. It doesn’t always work out that way.
Many pet stores, rescues, and other groups offer photos with your pet. If your dog or cat is highly sociable, this can be a great photo op.
However, if your best friend does not like being around other pets or might be skeptical of a strange man in red itchy costumes, it is probably best to pose at home by the tree.
• Deck the Halls
Deck the halls with boughs of holly is a Christmas classic. But, if your dog or cat eats the mistletoe or holly, you’ll have a blue Christmas.
Mistletoe can be very toxic to your pet. Seek veterinary help immediately if your dog or cat ingests any part of the plant.
Several species of holly are also known to cause vomiting, diarrhea and belly pain. Poinsettias have a milky sap that can irate and should be kept out of reach.
• Rudolph the Red-Nosed What?
Do you think dogs make fun of other dogs whose parents dress them in funny clothes? Some of our pets don’t mind wearing sweaters, boots or even Santa costumes. Others pretty much hate it. Don’t force your pet into donning antlers for your entertainment if they aren’t having fun. Most pets will tolerate a festive bandana for the family Christmas photo.
*Remember that the holiday season can be a very stressful time for you and your pet picks up on those feelings. The best gift you can give your dog or cat is always your time and love.
I’m joining my friend Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality to share tips to make the holidays safe for your dogs and cats. Be sure to check out her 8 Ways to Prevent Your Dog From Hating the Holidays. Together, we hope you have yourself a very merry and hairy holiday with your best friends.