The holiday season is filled with family, friends and parties but don't forget about your pets. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your animals safe and happy this holiday season.
- Keep Pets Away from the Christmas Tree. Decorations, pine needles and tree water can all be hazard to the animal in your house. Place the tree out of reach from animals or set up a barrier around the tree so the animal can not get to it. Delaware County SPCA Director of Community Relations Justina Calgiano says cats in particular love playing in the Christmas tree, so be sure it’s securely anchored so it doesn’t fall. When leaving the house for an extended period of time, try to shut the animal out of the room where the Christmas tree is displayed.
- Tree water may be stagnant and full of bacteria or contain fertilizers that can cause an upset stomach, so keep an eye out to make sure cats and dogs don’t drink from the tree base, Calgiano says.
- Decorations: Avoid tinsel that can be nibbled and swallowed, which could lead to obstructed organs. Keep glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. Shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet's mouth and paws and be even more harmful to the lining of the stomach if swallowed, Calgiano says.
- Keep Pets Away from Holiday Plants and Other Decorations. Poinsettia plants, holly and mistletoe are poisonous to animals if they eat them and can cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested, so keep them elevated and away from the reach of pets, Calgiano says.
- Candles and Menorahs can also prove dangerous. One wrong wag of the tail and an overturned candle could ruin the holidays for sure. Try to keep those items out of your four-legged friend's reach and always keep a watchful eye on tails near fireplaces or candles.
- Party Favors if play with or chewed could be hazardous to an animal. Be sure to clean up any party decorations or balloons that an animal could easily choke on or shallow.
- Don't Overindulge Your Pet. Giving pets table scrapes or foods they aren't accustom to is not a good idea. It can upset stomachs and bones from the scraps could easily be swallowed. Instead, stick with pet store treats and bones. A new toy to play with is always welcome too.
- No Alcohol: Never give an animal alcohol. According to ASPCA.org, alcohol can be extremely dangerous and even deadly to an animal. After a party, make sure all empty bottles and glasses have been cleaned up before letting your pet roam the house freely.
- No Chocolate: No holiday chocolates for your pet or anything sweetened with xylitol, Calgiano says.
- Party Etiquette: During parties, food is often left out at pet level. Try to keep your animal away from the party as much as possible. Paws can be easily stepped on in a crowd and with guests coming and going, pets could easily wander outside without being noticed.
- Burn Off Your Pet's Energy. A long walk is always a good idea before you head out for a long day away from your pet but for an added bonus try a treat scavenger hunt. This is for dog owners with a fenced in yard or outside area where the dog will be safe. Grab a handful of multi-grain Cheerios, which is a cereal with little sugar, and take your pup outside. Give him one or two Cheerios to start and show him the handful. Then toss the Cheerios across the yard, scattering them in different sections. Let your dog try to find those tiny treats and burning off tons of energy. When it's time to come inside your pup will be ready for a much-needed nap and you can attend your party feeling guilt-free.
For more ways to keep your animals safe during the holiday season check out ASPCA.org.