Pets are a part of the family, and it’s only natural to want to include them in your holiday celebrations. However, you should know that the holidays can be stressful for dogs, cats, and other animals. It’s essential to know about the foods and other things that might be dangerous or stressful to keep your pet safe during the holidays.
1. Keep Your Pet Away From All the Food
Sharing your delicious holiday meal with your best four-legged friend by providing a few table scraps isn’t a good idea. There are many foods that can be dangerous or unhealthy for your pet.
While small amounts of cooked meat aren’t unhealthy for your pet, bones are a major risk of intestinal blockage or throat injuries. Foods that contain nuts, onion, alcohol, or coffee can be toxic to your dog or cat.
You should be especially careful with candy. Ingredients like chocolate, raisin, and artificial sweeteners like Xylitol aren’t safe for your pet.
A number of digestive problems can arise from eating table scraps, even if the food isn’t toxic to your pet. Offering table scraps can also lead to some bad habits and result in your furry companion begging every time you sit at the dinner table.
If well-intentioned guests want to offer table scraps, ask them to give your pet a healthy dog or cat treat instead.
2. Choose Safe Decorations
Don’t let your cat climb your Christmas tree. While it makes for a cute holiday picture, there is a risk of the tree falling over and harming your pet. If you’re the owner of an adventurous cat who can’t resist climbing into the tree, hide a few lemon-scented car air fresheners among your ornaments as a deterrent. We also recommend anchoring your tree to prevent accidents.
As a pet owner, it’s best to invest in a convincing fake tree. A real tree means having stagnant water within reach of your pet. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria that can result in digestive and intestinal problems for your pet.
Avoid wires, glass ornament, and tinsels when planning your Christmas display. Opt for larger ornaments that won’t represent a choking hazard, and choose plastic ornaments over glass ones. Reduce wires as much as possible and use cable management products to keep them away from your pet.
Wrapping paper is another potential hazard. Watching your pup tear some gifts open is fun, but swallowing wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage.
3. Avoid These Traditional Holiday Plants
Many houseplants are toxic to pets, and the temptation to investigate a new plan can be strong. It’s best to keep holly and mistletoe out of your home since these plants can cause vomiting and other health problems. Lilies are another common holiday plant that is toxic to pets.
4. Reduce Stress
The holidays can be stressful for your pet, but there are things you can do to help them stay calm:
- Your pet needs a routine. Avoid changing things like meals, walks, playtime, and potty breaks.
- Having guests come over can be a source of stress. Don’t force the family pet to interact with guests, and ask guests to follow a few rules, including giving your pet some space or not picking them up.
- Retreating to a safe space can help your dog or cat manage their stress. A crate, bed, or cat tree can become a spot where your pet can hide and relax when guests come over.
- Avoid disrupting your pet’s usual sleep schedule and make sure they have access to a safe and quiet space where they can sleep. If you have small pets who are nocturnal, like rats or hamsters, make sure they can sleep during the day.
- Keep in mind that animals are more sensitive to noise. If you play music for a holiday party or have some guests over, be mindful of noise levels.
- If you’re visiting relatives during the holidays, leaving your pet alone at home can be stressful. You can help your pet deal with their separation anxiety by confining them to a room where they feel safe, providing toys, and giving them laundry with your smell on it.
- Prioritize quiet family time so you can celebrate the holidays with your pet. Choosing the right sofa can provide you with a space where you can relax, cuddle with your best four-legged friend, and spend some quality time as a family with your favorite Christmas movies.
From keeping table scraps away from your pet to choosing the right sofa to have a quiet spot where you can get together as a family, there are things you can do to make the holidays less stressful for your pet. Learn to recognize the signs that your dog or cat is uncomfortable or stressed and make sure they have access to a quiet spot where they can be alone when they feel overwhelmed.