The holiday season marks the end of the year and fresh beginnings, with all the joys of gift giving and festive, family celebrations. Pets are family too and should also benefit by the added gaiety of the holiday spirit. As you and your clients prepare for the holidays, keep in mind that not all decorations or holiday sweets are pet friendly. As you deck the halls, please keep these safety tips in mind:
Oh Christmas Tree:
A Christmas tree should be properly anchored so it doesn’t tip over, especially when nosy noses notice something new in the room.
Cats especially like to climb trees. Cats are good climbers. It’s not only in their ancestry, but their extendable claws give them a really good grip on tree trunks!
With natural trees, the tree water needs to be kept clean. Oils produced by fir trees can cause irritation to a pet’s stomach. Tree needles would not digest well either with possible obstruction or punctures if consumed.
Small, breakable ornaments should be at the top of a tree. Best to consider ornaments with tie string vs hooks…broken ornaments are a common occurrence and shards and hooks on the floor can be hazardous to puppy’s paws. Only turn tree lights on when you are home. Take the same precaution with lit candles.
Be careful about tree lights, as they can cause electric shock or burns if chewed on, particularly if you there’s a puppy in the house where chewing is a natural process as they teethe and explore their world in a “taste and test” fashion. Flocked trees could be toxic if the branches become Fido’s new chew stick. Keep presents stored offsite as long as possible (so they aren’t opened early by curious canines and felines).
Yummy chocolates and Christmas confections magically multiply during the holidays. Sugary sweets and chocolate are not meant for sharing with pets, however inadvertently. Xylitol, used as a sugar substitute, may also be found in some brands of peanut butter, yogurt, toothpaste and chewing gum and is extremely dangerous to dogs. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and tremors – and they usually begin within 15-30 minutes of consumption.
Some dogs like to “attack their prey” (they can’t help their ancestral disposition), so be sure to monitor dog toys with small parts or squeaky inserts. Unless a dog is a soft gummer, stick with sturdier chew toys, such as Nyla bones, Bully Sticks or Kongs. Most of us have witnessed the destruction of plush toys after a rigorous round of “seek and destroy”. The plush toy always loses!
Toxic Holiday Plants:
Holly, Mistletoe, Lilies, Daffodils and Amaryllis are potential GI upsets waiting to happen, if ingested. If you these natural plants are in the home make sure they are out of nose reach. According to Pet Poison Hotline https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/ “Though they have a bad rap, Poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated. When ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen.”
Despite this reassurance, some Poinsettia plants may have been treated with pesticides so best to avoid having any of these plants in close contact with household pets.
New Year’s Noises:
Loud noises, firecrackers and party horns are fun for us, yet may cause anxiety for some dogs. So much so, they may attempt to escape. If a dog is prone to anxiousness, place him in a quiet room during the countdown to 2023. Include treats, puzzle toys and calming music on the radio or TV.
For extreme anxiety-prone dogs, consider calming chews or vet-prescribed medications. CBD for pets is gaining popularity as a treatment alternative for a myriad of ailments including anxiety.
Enjoy the festivities of the season and relish in your 2022 accomplishments. Whatever your New Year resolutions might be, know that you have done your best to deliver professional pet sitting all year.
Warm wishes for peace, love and joy always.
Your Pet Pro team
photo attribution of Corgi around presents photo: Julia Volk on pexels