If you consider your pets full-fledged members of your family, you’re in good company. According to one major poll, 95 percent of pet owners do. And that means it’s only natural that we want them to participate in our holiday celebrations too.
But unlike the human members of your family, pets don’t really understand what all the excitement is about. And while they’re usually happy to be a part of it, keeping pets safe all season long can take some planning.
Avoid these hidden holiday hazards to keep pets safe
With the BIG day a few days away, and New Year’s just around the corner, the festivities are really ramping up now. Taking a few simple precautions today to avoid these hidden hazards can save you from a lot of heartache… and possibly an emergency vet visit… in the future.
Following are five common holiday hazards your pets could be facing.
1. The Christmas tree:
Your tree looks gorgeous. Decked out with glittering lights, shiny ornaments, twinkling tinsel and bright ribbon, it makes you smile every time you look at it. And chances are your pet feels exactly the same way.
Whether you have a Mittens or a Max the Christmas tree is likely just as irresistible to your cat or dog as it is to you. But while you’d never munch on the ornaments, your fluffy family member won’t have any hesitation about doing just that. After all, his highly developed sense of taste is one of the main ways he experiences the world.
To keep your pets safe from this common holiday hazard consider leaving an area around the bottom of the tree bare. Hang your ornaments on higher branches instead. When you stack your gifts around the bottom, you won’t even notice.
You can also try putting down a foil “moat” around the base of the tree. Most animals don’t like walking on foil, so they won’t venture too close. And as a bonus, your Christmas lights look fantastic reflecting off the foil.
Finally, make sure you secure the tree itself to the ceiling or a window sill, so nobody can knock it over with a well-placed pounce.
2. Lit candles:
Candles are a beautiful, festive addition to your Christmas décor. But they’re also a real danger to any nearby wagging, furry tails.
Place all lit candles high enough that dogs can’t brush up against them easily. And look for a sturdy, out of the way location where your cat doesn’t usually climb.
To keep pets safe consider replacing traditional candles with ones that run on batteries. There are some surprisingly realistic options these days. Some even include scents to mimic the real deal. And they never need replacing.
If you can’t live without the flicker of a real flame, think about investing in hurricane lamps or lanterns. They’re generally safer than open candles. And never ever leave a lit candle unattended, but especially not with a furry friend in the room.
The human food that’s so plentiful this time of year can be hazardous to your kitty or pup’s health. For example, high fat foods such as turkey skin can lead to a potentially deadly condition called pancreatitis. And it doesn’t always take a large serving of the offending food to trigger it.
Bones can splinter and cause choking or puncture wounds. And the xylitol found in many baked goods, mints and chewing gum is associated with liver failure and even death in cats and dogs. (Discover 6 more healthy for you foods that can harm your pet.)
If you want to spoil your pets with a special treat this time of year, rather than scraping your plates into their bowls, buy an all-natural goodie made especially for them.
4. Potpourri and essential oils:
Potpourri and essential oils can help make your house smell like a magical Christmas wonderland. But to keep curious pets safe, make sure you keep them well out of their reach.
Just like us, cats and dogs are often drawn to the pleasant scents. But unlike us, they don’t realize potpourri and essential oils aren’t as delicious as they smell. And even worse, they can make your four-leggers very sick.
Remember no matter how social your furbaby usually is she might not feel the same way about festive get-togethers and big parties as you do. The strangers, loud noises and high energy levels can quickly overwhelm Fluffy or Fido.
To help relieve your pet’s stress make sure she has a place she can retreat to and get away from all the holiday hustle and bustle. And don’t forget to keep a close eye on the door. It only takes a second for your fluffy friend to slip out.
When the guests start arriving, consider moving your pet to a safe room with some of her favorite things such as her bed, toys, water and a tasty treat.
Sharing the holidays with furry family members makes them even more special. But this time of year can be full of unseen threats too. Planning ahead to avoid these hidden holiday hazards can help keep your pets safe and happy all season long.