The year may be winding down, but the time has just arrived–the time when we impart acts of kindness on perfect strangers, be they man or animal. The holidays stoke a warm kinship in the heart that is not bound by species. It’s why, among the children’s stockings, we dangle smaller ones teeming with bones or catnip. It’s why we welcome weary rescues in from the cold and make their bowls brim with food, their beds with blankets. After all, during the holidays, there are no distinctions. Everyone is family.
May all Christmas pets, whether from pet stores or shelters, be received into loving homes. May all strays find a warm place to rest their heads and fill their stomachs. Above all, may a tender hand reach out to spare them from the streets, to bestow an affectionate pet, to assure them they are not alone in these final winter months.
Is your pet a Christmas rescue? Do you plan to induct a new member into your family this holiday season? Share your stories here—let your good deeds be known and inspire others to remember those less fortunate, even if they are covered in fur.
Winter has got to be a confusing time for pets. Their people drag full-grown trees into the living room (if they did that, they would be in doggie time-out so fast, their heads would spin). They wrap boxes in sparkly, crinkly paper, get mad at you all month when you keep unwrapping them, only to cheer when the human children unwrap them later. You can’t eat the chocolate, you can’t eat the gingerbread house, you’re whiskers-deep in white stuff anytime you go outside. What’s going on?
To be sure, wintertime is bewildering for animals, but all the do’s and don’ts are in place to keep them safe. Keep these pet safety tips from Good Housekeeping in mind:
- Recap: From the fall safety tips, continue to keep antifreeze out of your pet’s reach (even a small amount, once ingested, can be lethal). Also, don’t rely on fur alone to insulate your pet. Provide adequate shelter and break the ice in bowls and troughs if the water has frozen over.
- Paws Off: Yummy (looking) things abound indoors. But holly leaves and berries are toxic, tinsel can create intestinal blockages, and heating pad cords can electrocute. Place your decorations strategically and select mattress or pet bed pads that are pet-proof.
- What’s This?: The funny smells and strange whirrings emitted from candles and space heaters might tempt a curious pet. If they should knock them over, a fire could start. Don’t leave either out in the open.
- Flashy: Winter months mean darker days. Fasten a reflective collar around your pet’s neck and up its visibility to prevent accidents when it wanders outside.
- Don’t Start that Car: At least not without honking the horn or banging on the hood first. Animals (cats especially) are in the bad habit of snuggling up to the car engine on cold nights.
- Watch for Ice: Older pets could fracture bones if they stumble upon particularly icy patches. Also, a pond or lake might look frozen solid, but you shouldn’t let even the lightest pet wander out past the bank. Always supervise your pets when they are outdoors.
Your pets—be they canine, feline, or chinchilla—may not understand all your weird rules, but they are paramount to a safe and enjoyable winter. May your holidays be happy and tinsel-free!