How to Keep Your Pets Safe this Christmas

keeping pets safe for christmasWe cannot stress enough how important it is to pet proof your home during Christmas time. This year we say it stronger as we heard the story of a home that set up their tree with lights and decorations and then left for the evening. Upon returning home from their party they were met with a very sad sight indeed. Their kitten had climbed the tree, got tangled in the lights and hung itself.

Although most would consider this to be a freak occurrence, it does make a vivid point. It is our responsibility to keep our pets out of harm’s way during our days of celebration. We don’t suggest NOT decorating we are just hoping you will take note the following tips to keep your pets safe.

  • Decorations – Parents have gone through the training with toddlers, valuable ornaments are put out of reach or not on the tree at all. The same is true if you have dogs or cats in the house. Save yourself the agony of finding your treasured glass doves dashed to pieces under a toppled tree. Also, be aware of decorations that could poise choking hazards should they get pulled/knocked down. Some choose to keep the tree in a room that can be closed off from pets while others actually fence the tree in. Keep in mind that a toppled tree or chewed on power cords pose fire threats as well as electrocution. Poinsettias, mistletoe and chocolate are all poisonous to dogs and can cause death.  Keep them safe by securing decorations and electrical cords and if you use candles, keep them well above reach or curious noses and wagging tails.  If you need to leave the house, keep your dogs secured away from all the holiday cheer.
  • Food – Threats to your dog’s health start well before the traditional meal is on the table. As we just mentioned, chocolate left on tables are too tempting for dogs as well as foods wrapped up under the tree. We all want our dogs to have special treats just like us so do them a favor and buy doggie treats or make some for them – Safe Thanksgiving Meals for Your Dog.  There are many toxic foods eaten at this time and no reason to put your dog at risk – Keeping Your Dog Safe During Holiday Meals,  And make sure you keep all foods and alcoholic beverages up high and away from the edge of counters and tables.  Even the best mannered dog will be tempted by a steaming turkey left at the edge of the table. And again, if you leave the house be certain all food is out of reach including presents under the tree.
  • Stress – For those that love having friends and family over for parties, keep your dog’s mental health in mind as well. New and large crowds of people in ‘their’ house as well as going with you to a different house can put a lot of stress on your pet. Be sure to watch your dog for signs of stress such as avoidance body language, panting and nervous, shifty behaviors.  If you know your dog doesn’t handle crowds well, do them a huge favor and leave them home and provide a safe place to go to when you have guests – a quiet room, a crate, or an elevated cat tree.
  • Open Doors – Stress or the thrill of everything going on my entice your dog to do things he doesn’t normally do, like run away from home.  This time of year we are always opening the door to welcome in family, unload the car, or take the packages from Affordable Agility off the stoop. Be careful that your pet doesn’t make a break for the great outdoors! Take time to work on proper door manners or better yet, remove the temptation by keeping your dog in a secure area when you are expecting guests.

Many of you may already have safety system in place to keep you and your pets safe, but a puppy owner or new dog owner experiencing the Christmas fun for the first time should take careful precautions to ensure they see many more Christmases to come. So, do your part and get this information out to all your new pet owners so they can take appropriate measures to keep their new family members happy and safe this holiday season.