Pets are notorious for getting into mischief when they find intriguing new objects—especially the glitz and glow of holiday decorations. But, cats and dogs can encounter dangerous situations when investigating the tree, gifts, and seasonal treats associated with Christmas and New Year’s Eve. To avoid an emergency veterinary visit during the holiday season, follow our Alisos Animal Hospital’s in-depth guide, which is packed full of useful tips to help pet owners avoid calamity.
How to make your Christmas tree safe for your pet
The star of the holiday season is often the most dangerous for your furry pal. From the tree stand to the angel or star on top, your Christmas tree hosts a variety of potential threats for your pet. Cats and dogs, especially young puppies and kittens who haven’t yet learned the holiday rules, are apt to explore the beautiful delights of a fully decked-out tree. Your tree may be designed so that people ooh and ahh over the sparkle and shine, but take the following precautions to prevent holiday mishaps:
- Opt for shatterproof ornaments — Rambunctious pets can crash into your tree, sending ornaments shattering to the ground, and cats can easily scale a tree to bat at fragile ornaments near the top. Opt for shatterproof ornaments instead of delicate glass decor to avoid cut paws.
- Stick to plain water for your tree — Although you want your tree to last as long as possible, provide only plain water for your fresh-from-the-woods tree. Chemical additives can be toxic to your pet, and water that sits too long in the stand can develop mold, which can also pose a toxic threat. Purchase an enclosed tree stand to thwart your pet from getting an evergreen-flavored drink.
- Avoid edible decorations — Popcorn strands, cinnamon-scented decor, and salt dough ornaments can entice the most well-behaved pet into nibbling on your tree decorations. Give special ornaments pride of place on a fireplace mantel or shelf, well out of the way of your pet’s drooling jaws.
- Keep electrical cords out of reach — If your tree is lit with strands of flashing lights, you likely have a mess of cords winding their way to the nearest electrical outlet. Prevent as much exposure as possible by hiding cords under a tree skirt, or with a cord and plug protectors. Pets love to chew cords, and could be burned.
- Place a baby gate around your tree — A baby gate may not fit your holiday decor scheme, but a gate can prevent holiday tragedies from befalling your tree and pet. If that is not sufficient, and your bold cat or dog leaps over or scales the gate, you may need to put your tree behind a closed door in a less accessible room.
With advance planning, you can enjoy the dazzle of your Christmas tree, whether artificial or real, for the entire holiday season, all while keeping your furry pal safe.
How to make your New Year’s Eve celebration safe for your pet
Following close on Christmas’s heels is New Year’s Eve and its extravagant celebration. Flashy decorations, booming fireworks, hors d’oeuvres, and alcohol splash out on December 31, and your pet may see a prime opportunity to snatch up finger foods or a cocktail, or gnaw on a party popper. They may also bolt for cover from a firework explosion. Follow these tips to keep your four-legged friend safe from harm:
- Create a haven for your pet — Not all pets are party animals, and the hubbub surrounding your New Year’s Eve celebration may create stress and anxiety. Create a quiet haven that allows your pet to relax away from the commotion, especially if fireworks are part of the festivities. Play calming music, provide a soft, cozy bed, and tempt your pet with a long-lasting treat in their safe getaway, where you may want to escape to, as well.
- Instruct party guests to avoid sharing with your pet — While your pet is likely to bring out their begging stare when the hors d’oeuvres make their appearance, these foods are often high in fat, calories, or sugar, which can wreak havoc on your pal’s intestinal tract or cause pancreatitis. Ask your guests not to leave unattended cocktails in slurping distance of your pet, no matter how old your pooch is in dog years.
- Ensure your pet is doubly identified — As guests arrive or leave, your front door may be left wide open. Amid the chaos, your pet can spy their getaway opportunity, only to be terrified by thunderous fireworks overhead. Keep a collar with current ID tags on your pet at all times, and ensure their microchip contact information is up to date. If your pet is a known door-dasher, confine them to a safe place until all your guests have arrived or left.
Pets don’t always read the book when it comes to their safety, but you can bookmark this guide for future reference to keep your four-legged companion safe from harm this holiday season.
Does your pet have a penchant for ending up on the naughty list? If your furry pal runs afoul of a holiday disaster, your Alisos Animal Hospital team is here to help—give us a call.