Five Ways to Keep Pets Happy over the Holidays

By: Hannah Gilmour | Economical Insurance
December 13, 2018

The holiday season brings family, food, and cheer! We all know pets are part of the family, so including them in your holiday festivities is a no-brainer. Keep these five basic tips in mind to avoid any mishaps and keep your pets safe over the holidays.

  1. Secure your holiday decorations and keep them out of reach. Decorating the house for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whichever holiday your family celebrates this season, is a fun activity for all involved. But if you have a pet, it’s important that you keep cords, lights, candles, and fragile decorations well out of reach. Shiny decorations like tinsel and ornaments, for example, are especially attractive to cats, but they can be choking hazards. Holiday plants like holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe can be harmful if your pet decides to take a nibble, so make sure they’re entirely out of reach or avoid them altogether. Once you’re done your decorating, take a walk through the house and carefully collect any loose or low-hanging items that could be harmful to your pet.
  2. Quickly recycle your wrapping paper. If your pet is part of your family’s gift exchange, be sure to recycle any unwanted wrapping paper right away, as it can be a choking hazard for pets. If you notice your dog or cat is having symptoms like difficultly relieving himself, lethargy, or vomiting, contact your veterinarian right away.
  3. Keep your pet’s paws off the table. For most of us, the holidays are a time when food and drinks are shared with family and friends. When it comes to your pets, some holiday delights can be dangerous. Ingesting these could be particularly harmful to your pet:
  4. Turkey or chicken bones
  5. Leftover fatty meats
  6. Chocolate or candy
  7. Raisins
  8. Alcohol
  9. Eggnog
  10. Cannabis
  11. Give your dog or cat a quiet place to relax. Some dogs can get over-excited when greeting people at the door, while others may get over-protective and aggressive. If you’re having people over, create a space for your pet in a bedroom or another room in the house where the guests won’t be spending time. This might help your dog or cat feel calmer and more comfortable when there are people they aren’t used to in the house, particularly when guests are coming and going.
  12. Be careful with scented oils and strong fragrances. Setting the mood with the aroma of pine, nutmeg, or vanilla may make your house feel more festive, but be cautious when using strongly scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils around your pet. According to the website, even a few licks of scented oil can cause serious harm to your cat or dog, causing symptoms like chemical burns, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Instead, opt for scented candles placed where they won’t be touched or knocked over, or for a natural alternative, try making a simmer pot on the stove with festive ingredients like orange peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries (tip: try searching “holiday simmer pots” on Pinterest!). Also, be aware that pets have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and they may find some scents overwhelming, so try not to go overboard with fragrances.

Holiday plants like holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe can be harmful if your pet decides to take a nibble, so make sure they’re entirely out of reach or avoid them altogether.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.

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