“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la,la la la la
‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la,la la la la.”
It’s the first of December and everybody is thinking about the Holidays: What to buy for Dad, mom, big brother, Aunt Jean, etc. Who will we invite to our Christmas Eve party, What will we have for Christmas Day? Turkey or Ham? or both?
The carpet needs cleaning, that chair looks awful. Can we afford to get a new one before Christmas? On and on go the Christmas preparations, and our pets are pushed into the
background during all the hubbub. This is the time of year that, left to their own devices, our pets can get into trouble. So, how can we keep our pets safe during this busy holiday season?
Pets Eat Shiny Things
Both cats and dogs are guilty of picking up shiny objects and playing with them. In the process of chewing on them and throwing them around in play, non-edible things get swallowed. If you are lucky, your cat or dog will vomit up the inedible bits and pieces, and your pet is fine.
Children are busy with making things for Christmas. Crafts are fun to work with during the season. Your children are making cards, Christmas decorations, toys, gifts, projects for school, etc.
Things get strewn around– glitter, string, rubber bands, scissors, construction paper, pins, small sticks. While the
children are busy with crafts, there are plenty of opportunities for your cat or puppy to get into serious trouble.
Some craft items can be toxic such as glitter, and glue. Some items can cause severe stomach upset, and or blockage. Chewing on strange items can damage teeth and gums. Glue and other items can be poisonous.
If your children are going to be working unsupervised by an adult, appoint the oldest child as supervisor who will be responsible for cleaning up garbage and putting everything out of reach of curious kitties and puppies.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is the focal point of all decorations in our households. Some families insist upon real trees while other families will settle for artificial trees. Either one can cause trouble for your pets. Real trees drop needles.
Dogs sniffing around trees will pick up needles and swallow some. Most needles are swallowed with no problems. But sometimes those sharp needles can cause troubles in the digestive tract, which means a sudden trip to the vet.
Cats, on the other hand, love to climb trees. Christmas trees offer cats a challenge–climb to the top without toppling the whole thing over. All this activity happens at night, after everybody is in bed. A large crash, followed by a sputtering, hissing cat streaking through the house, tells you all you need to know. You spend the rest of the night cleaning up the mess.
The better way to anchor your tree is to plant your tree in a pot or bucket, so that the tree is stabilized. It will be easier to water the tree, as well. There is no pan of water for either the cat or dog to get into.
Keep electric cords off the floor. When decorating the tree, leave the bottom three or four inches bare. If you put decorations on the bottom limbs of the tree, your cat will strip them off. Your cat will keep his game going as long as you play. Better not to start.
If your household includes pets (cat and/or dog) this should be your golden rule when decorating your home- no decorations, garlands, potted plants, less than four feet from the floor.
Outdoor Dangers for your pet
Pets face dangers in the out of doors during the holidays, too. In the garage, your car can drip anti-freeze a well as oil and gas. Drips of oil and gas usually have a nasty taste and pets will steer clear. But Anti-freeze has a pleasant taste and cats, especially are drawn to the substance. Licking anti-freeze can be fatal for cats.
Cats will crawl up under the car into the motor area for warmth and if you are not aware the cat could be somewhere under the car or under the hood, they can be seriously injured or killed when you start your car and move it.
Make sure you know where your dog is before you start your car and move it down the drive. Make sure your fence gate is securely latched, so your dog can’t get out. Finally, be sure your dog and your cat have rabies and other shots, and have tags to that effect on their collars Be sure they have been micro
Keep an eye on your outside animals. Testing laboratories pay well for dogs and cats and people are looking for an easy snatch. Animals in yards and in the streets are easy prey.
A puppy or kitten for a gift?
Whatever you do, do not give a friend, relative or child a live gift for Christmas–even if they have begged for one all year. If you are sure that person is leaning toward getting a pet, give them a gift Certificate to a reputable pet store where they can purchase all kinds of equipment, toys, beds, food; and let them pick out the pet.
There are a number of reasons to resist that temptation to get a pet for a relative or friend. You are not sure what breed, sex, or. color your friend or relative would want. You do not know their financial situation. You do not know if allergies are involved.
Even if the person receiving the pet is delighted, no doubt the kitten or puppy is terrified. Everybody wants to hold it. There is no place to safely put the animal down while the family mills around chatting with each other, eating dinner, etc.
As a consequence, the animal will probably never bond well with the intended recipient. What you end up with is disappointment all around, that will end with the animal traumatized, and with you being ostracized from the group from now on.
All Those requests for money
As a pet lover and a pet owner, you get numerous requests for donations for a variety of causes this time of year. They all appear to be for dire circumstances, that cannot wait.
Some will bring you to tears and you want to help, but how can you know which causes are really honorable about using the money collected. Does most of the money go toward the cause, or is most of it used up by the people promoting the cause?
If you are not knowledgeable about the organization, look for some rating of their management. Organizations that have achieved good ratings will publish them.
Look for accredited ratings from: Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or Best Seal of Excellence. If you see one of more of these logos, your money will be used as promoted.
“Fast away the old year passes, Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses, Fa la la la la, la la la la.”
I’m Barbara Nelson, and I hope this post gives you some insights on how to love your pets and enjoy the holidays!