The holiday season can be one of the most wonderful times of the year – and one of the most stressful for people and pets alike. Following these simple tips can help keep all of you stress-free and full of the holiday spirit.
Holiday Overindulgence – It’s not just for people
Left to their own devices our pets would be happy to overindulge in all kinds of holiday food. Nothing adds stress to a celebration in quite the same way as an animal with an upset stomach. Be sure to keep animals away from rich holiday foods. Be particularly vigilant about:
- Onions, which can cause anemia (high levels of garlic can, too)
- Grapes and Raisins
- Bones (especially cooked bones and ANY poultry bones)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any foods high in fat, sodium and/or sugar
There are some human foods that are okay for pets. A small piece of cooked turkey or chicken without skin, bones or gravy makes for a nice treat without risking intestinal upset.
If you are hosting a holiday gathering, a little preparation before the guests arrive can work wonders. Remember that pets are not generally used to having more than a few people around and might get overly excited. The jumping, the grabbing food from hands and tables, the barking, or hissing and swatting … all of these things can lead to some embarrassing situations, and maybe even frighten some guests who aren’t used to being around animals. If your pet isn’t used to parties set aside a safe room where he or she can stay for the duration of the event. Make the space comfortable with a bed or rug, water, litter box, toys, and maybe some pet-appropriate treats. Tape a sign to the door saying “do not open, pets inside”. The last thing you want is for a very excited pet to dash through the house and out the door.
Watch the holiday decorations!
Most pets are curious by nature, so they will want to check out any additions to the decor. Sniffing can lead to chewing, or even eating those pretty holiday ornaments. Keep electrical cords and other decorations away from curious paws and watch out for dangling objects that can be pulled down and cause injury. Candles should never be left unattended, poinsettias are poisonous to cats, and if you have a Christmas tree, don’t let your pet drink the tree water, it probably contains dangerous preservatives or fertilizers.