The most wonderful time of the year is approaching, full of treasured time with family and friends, delicious foods, dazzling decorations, fun festivities, and… stress. Worrying about a sick or injured furry family member only adds more stress to the holiday season—not to mention the damage an emergency veterinary bill can do to your budget. Relax and enjoy the wonderful times with your family and friends—two- and four-legged—by remembering these holiday guidelines:
#1: Decorations to ditch
Your guests may ooh and ahh over your sparkling decorations, but your pet isn’t interested, unless those decorations can be mistaken as chew toys. To keep your home merry and bright, place decorations far out of reach of inquisitive pets. Lights can cause electrical burns, glass ornaments can shatter and slice paw pads, tinsel and ribbon can knot up a pet’s intestinal tract, and a variety of festive plants can be mildly irritating to potentially deadly. If you’re planning to add some bright blooms or greenery to your home this holiday season, check the toxicity potential on the ASPCA’s website.
#2: Foods to forget
Many pets enjoy the holidays because of the delicious scents wafting in the air, from the roasting Thanksgiving turkey to the Christmas ham. While we love our pets and want to spoil them, not all holiday treats are safe for cats and dogs. Here’s a list of foods to avoid:
High-fat foods, like gravy, ham, and buttery sides
Heavily spiced or seasoned foods, particularly those with onions or garlic
Meat bones that can splinter and break
Sugary sweets, such as candy, cookies, and other desserts, even those sweetened with xylitol
A morsel of turkey breast (minus the skin), a lick of plain mashed potatoes, and some fresh green beans can be a safe holiday dinner for your pet. When in doubt, stick to store-bought pet treats as a special gift.
#3: Parties to pass on
Your pet may appreciate you all decked out in your finest duds, but she won’t feel the same if you doll her up. Skip party outfits for your pet and consider declining party invites for her as well. While many pets are social butterflies around small groups of people they know, large crowds can be nerve-wracking. If you’re throwing a get-together in your home, set up a party room for your pet away from the group. Stock it with her favorite cozy bed, a new chew toy or catnip mouse, and a tasty, long-lasting treat. She will probably be happier at her party of one than ducking the many hands reaching out for a pat, loud music, and commotion found in the main party.
If your pet indulges too much this holiday season, reach out for help. From pancreatitis caused by rich foods, to dustups with decorations, to party anxiety, we’re here to make your holidays run smoothly for your four-legged friend.