The lights are gleaming; the carols are being sung, and your dog is neck deep in a pile of tinsel. Yikes! Holiday festivities are supposed to be merry, bright, and full of love to share with family and friends. But for our fur-friends, it takes a proactive response to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.
Here are a few ways for you to pet-proof your home for the holidays!
Check the Plants
While plants may be much of your decorating ambience, many of them are toxic to animals.
This beautiful bulb plant is often purchased and grown at home, and is very common throughout winter. For dogs specifically, if they eat that bulb, it can cause an intestinal blockage, and chewing on the flowers and leaves can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, depression, and tremors.
Nothing is more beautiful than holly strung around your house, with the lights twinkling, the smell of Christmas in the air! But did you know that holly and mistletoe, if chewed on, can cause depression, diarrhea, and vomiting? If you choose to use these in your decor, put them up high where pets can’t get ahold of them.
While found in many winter floral centerpieces, lilies (including Easter, Japanese Snow, Day, and Tiger) are highly toxic to your cats. Not just one part of the plant is toxic, all of it is. If ingested, it can cause life-threatening kidney damage. If you own a cat, don’t bring any form of lilies into your home.
Trees and Tinsel and Treats - oh my!
Depending on your decor, many families opt for a tree as the centerpiece for the Christmas decorations. If you choose to hoist up a fake tree, great! There’s no immediate danger to your pets from a fake tree. However, if your family prefers a real tree, choose a fir or spruce instead of a pine. Pine trees are poisonous to cats and can cause intestinal complications. Keep your fur-babies out of the water which the tree is standing in. Sprays and pesticides leak into the water and will cause upset tummies if ingested.
If you’re in love with the look of tinsel on your tree, it may sadden you to know tinsel is one of the worst things for pets to eat. If ingested, tinsel can get stuck in the intestinal tract causing blockages and may require surgery if not passed naturally. Both dogs and cats are susceptible to playing with tinsel, so either put it where it cannot be bothered or don’t have it in your house this holiday season.
Less Lighting is More
Lights are classic and a must-have for decorating! They shine beautifully and add a glow to your home. While lights shouldn’t be nixed all-together, choose to hang these strategically throughout your home. Don’t hang them on lower branches where curious paws and mouths may find them, and protect the cord nearest to the wall outlet with a chew-safe wraparound.
For the most mischievous animals, opt for baby gates in heavily decorated areas of your home. If your pets can be put in a specific room while you leave the house, that is best to mitigate any risk involved in potentially eating or chewing something they shouldn’t. Monitor them when you’re home, and have your baby gate at the ready!
If you’ll be out of town during this season, we’d love to watch your pets for you and make sure they receive all they love they need! Contact us today to chat about options for your pets (our sitters will make sure they don’t end up on the naughty list!