With all of the activity over the holiday season—buying gifts, decorating the tree, and baking—it’s easy to forget that some of our favorite things about this festive season can be hazardous to our pets. Even though there’s that long to-do list before the big day, take some extra time to look out for your pet’s comfort and safety.
Baby, it’s cold outside. The weather this time of year is just as cold for pets as it is for us. Leave your pet’s natural coat long and well-groomed so she stays warm. Brushing your pet not only removes dead hair, but it helps with blood circulation so she stays toasty on frostier days. Cut back on her baths during this time so she retains oils that help her skin stay smooth and moisturized.
Let it snow! Snow can easily cover up scents, and walking your dog on a leash will prevent him from getting lost. Consider a jacket and booties to help short-haired breeds conserve warmth. Give outdoor pets a waterproof, insulated house they can keep warm in and provide them with plenty of fresh water. And remember to always bang on the hood before starting your car to keep sheltering outdoor kitties safe.
Deck the halls. Christmas decorations make the season merry and bright, but some of those crafting and decorating items can be dangerous for pets. Secure the Christmas tree so it won’t topple, cover the water tray on real trees, and avoid tinsel and low-hanging ornaments pets can break or choke on. Consider artificial alternatives for holly and mistletoe so your pet doesn’t chew on them. If you’re a crafter, keep an eye on pets and supplies. Curious animals can ingest craft supplies that are harmful to them.
Careful with sweet treats! Many sweets, including chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol, can make your pet sick. Begging eyes aren’t easy to ignore, but before giving your pet any special treats, check this list from the ASPCA for what to avoid. Keep those cups out of reach, too, since alcohol has deadly effects for four-legged family members.
I’ll be home for Christmas. Even if your pet is a happy-go-lucky people-loving soul, holiday celebrations can provide too much stimulation. Cozy up a small space for her to retreat to, complete with food, water, comfy blankets, and favorite toys. Each canine and feline has his or her own personality, so be sure to cater to your pet’s needs. And don’t forget to establish with guests the proper etiquette for interacting with your pet so everyone has a fun time.
Christmas is a time to enjoy, have fun, and see family—just remember to ensure that your pet has a safe, fun Christmas as well! Check out the ASPCA web site for more tips to keep your pet safe during the holidays.