A lot of people find the holidays stressful… but have you ever considered that your pet might feel the same way?
Imagine you’re only about eight inches tall and roughly 10 pounds. Now imagine that your world is suddenly full of new stuff, like strangely breakable colored balls hung from a giant tree and people you’ve never met before!
It can be pretty hard for pets to handle all the changes that come with the holidays but there are ways to make it easier for your favorite furry friend to adjust.
Don’t worry, it’s not that hard! In fact, most of the solutions are just plain common sense. So help your pet survive December in style with these guidelines from the ASPCA and Sure Fit, creator of slip covers and home pet solutions.
Secure the Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water – which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset – from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he drink it.
No Candy for Kitty
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Get the Right Toys
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe. Here are some tips:
For dogs – Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
For cats – Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer – and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
Pets and Fire Don’t Mix
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
Share the Love
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, let them feel free to start a play or petting session.
Hide the Meds
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and could even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
Give them some Space
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to – complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub. Sure Fit offers Folding Travel Beds for pets that are traveling with their owners, so that they can have a comfy bed away from home.
If you are traveling with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and water proof seat covers. Sure Fit’s Auto Friends Collection has great travel solutions from Pet Hammocks to Car Seat Covers that will protect your car from fur while keeping your pet comfortable.
Watch the New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.
While some of these suggestions seem rather simple, they can be hard to implement in the hub-bub of the holiday season. Don’t forget the littlest members of your family, they need our help more than ever at this time of year.