Christmas is a really fun time for both humans and pet alike – it involves lots of family time spent together, delicious food, happy vibes and special treats. When preparing for Christmas this year, don’t forget about your furry friends! You can make your cat or dog feel special by giving them a stocking as well and filling it with catnip, squeaky toys, bones, treats and their favourite foods.
It is also important to keep your pets in mind when you are decorating for the holidays. Christmas decorations are a lot of fun and they will make your home look magical, but the wrong decorations in the wrong place can be hazardous for your pets.
Remember the scene in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” where the cat sneaks under the tree and starts chewing on the exposed wires for the Christmas lights? With a spectacular flash and boom, the cat gets electrocuted while lighting the tree on fire. It’s funny in the film, but you wouldn’t want the same to happen to your feline companion.
Here are some important tips to follow if you want to make sure that your Christmas decorations are pet friendly.
· When you are hanging your Christmas tree ornaments, keep breakable glass ornaments (such as the beautiful ones at http://www.christmasornaments.com/) out of the reach of your cat or dog by hanging them near to the top of the tree. Save the bottom branches for cloth ornaments or unbreakable plastic.
· Tinsel is a very dangerous decoration. If your pet ingests even a few strands it can cause a very dangerous and even deadly intestinal obstruction. If you can, avoid tinsel completely or keep it very high on the tree where you know your pet will not be able to reach.
· If you have a real Christmas tree, it will need to be in a container of water. However, your pets might be tempted to drink the Christmas tree water, which can be dangerous because the preservatives used to keep the tree fresh will have leeched into it. To avoid this, you can either invest in an artificial tree or use a covered tree water stand so that your pets can’t drink from it.
· Another danger of having a real Christmas tree is that some dogs will be tempted to chew on the branches. The needles of the tree can upset their stomach and even puncture the lining of their intestinal tract.
· During the Christmas season you will likely have a lot of lights around your home and on your tree. In order to avoid your pets biting into them, you can use wire covers to keep them hidden.
· You could also use electrical tape or duct tape to secure the wires to the floor, so that your pet cannot chew on them.
· Avoid putting the presents on the floor under the tree until Christmas Eve. This will help to prevent your pets from ripping into them and chewing on them when you are not home. Not only would they destroy your gifts, they might choke on the ribbons. Keep your gifts on a table or in the closet instead.
· Avoid items such as fake snow and flocking (white cotton fluff meant to look like snow). If your cat or dog swallows any of this, it can be very dangerous for them.
· If you have a very large Christmas tree, make sure that you have secured it to the wall so that if your dog or cat jumps up on it, they will not knock it down.
· Be careful when decorating your home with poinsettias. They can make your pet really sick if they happen to eat them. Also, mistletoe is quite dangerous for pets as well. Ingesting it can lead to swollen throat tissue, vomiting and a drop in blood pressure.
These are just a few tips that you can keep in mind in order to decorate your home for Christmas in a pet-friendly way. In light of all this, you might want to consider getting a small table top tree which can stand up out of harm’s way (of a dog, but not a cat). Sometimes a small tree can be just as beautiful and special as a large one.
Enjoy your Christmas holidays with your family members, both animal and human!
George Torres is a freelance writer and blogger. His Golden Retriever, Honey, loves Christmas and always gets a special dog treat in her stocking.