Christmas & Hannukah Pet Holiday Safety Hints

by on 05/12/10 at 10:19 am

Holidays are hectic times and threats to animals can include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, candle flames, to name a few.

Although you might want to include your pets in celebrations it is important to remember that holiday dangers and seasonal threats really exist. Fortunately, anyone can take a few pet precautions and make the Hanukkah and Christmas festivities into safe and humane holiday celebrations.

One simple but often overlooked step is to make sure that your pets are occupied with their own treats and activities. Good petiquette exhibited by pet owners means taking steps to make sure pets are mannerly and that guests and family are alerted about the dangers of certain treats.

Rich foods and inappropriate feeding can create health complications for household critters. Dangerous food items include holiday favorites such as chocolate, coffee, onions, fatty foods, alcoholic beverages, and cooked bones.

Grapes and raisins can also be hazardous. So make sure sure you have appropriate treats for the pets and monitor the quantity. Be sure to also keep the human food safely out of reach.

Alert guests if you pets are going to be part of the festivities. Many guests will not appreciate your drooling darling or furry additions to their good clothing.

It is easy to plan ahead to avoid problems or to fine-tune your guest list to pet people. Some useful tools are baby gates or play pens that can keep animals from getting underfoot while still allowing them to be part of the celebration.

Remember it is great to include pets in the family activities but take steps to do it safely. For instance, pets can also be placed in an adjacent room or yard so they can have their own “pet party.”

Since most kids love animals you might want to combine the two, and ask young visitors to occupy pets away from the main festivities.

Since the holidays are so hectic, instead of giving a pet as a present, collect the pet necessities for the new critter and wrap each gift separately. Be sure to conclude the gift opening party with a picture of the ideal pet and/or a pet adoption certificate from an animal agency or similar entity. Your actions will be fun and conscientious–and will build up the excitement and anticipation of the new arrival.

Need some ideas on what to include in the parade of presents? Get pet breed and training books, pet beds or housing, dishes, brushes, accessories, dog toys, and certificates for grooming and other services like training and veterinary care.

If you already have a pet, you can make contributions to animal related charities in their honor. Families can research and select both wild and domestic animal rescue agencies since they all can use the help.

Holiday Hazards & Hints:

* Remember that plants (holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, lilies, Christmas rose, etc,) are poisonous to pets.

* Pine needles can create problems if ingested.

* Unsecured Christmas trees pose hazards to climbing critters as they can topple or be knocked over.

* Don’t forget to prevent the ingestion of Christmas tree water since stagnant water or preservatives can be toxic.

* Other holiday hazards include menorahs, candles and liquid potpourri pots.

* Fire and burns are not the only threats to pets and the household. Scented items can also be harmful–especially to birds.

* The ingestion of inappropriate foods, tinsel, ribbons or garlands can cause sickness or obstruction.

* Breakable items such as glass and other ornaments pose a threat.

* Electrical cords, heated decorative bulbs, hooks, and a wide variety of other adornment items create temptations. Use topical pet deterrents and barriers for protection.

* Keep décor items out of reach of your pet or in places your animals cannot get to them.

* Nicotine poses a threat. Keep it out of reach.

* Keep trash lids on tight. Chewed aluminum foil and e-coli (Escherichia coli) are risks to pets.

* Store food in secure containers out of reach to prevent ingestion or poisoning.

Taking a few steps to plan your holidays and the arrival of new pets can protect and save the life of many critters-but it will also save your sanity!

Diana L Guerrero is an animal expert with over 30 years of experience with both wild and domestic animals. Based in California, the Ark Lady runs multiple websites and works as a pet parenting coach, freelance writer, and professional speaker. Guerrero is often featured in the media as a pet expert and is the author of “What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild & Tame Creatures” and “Blessing of the Animals: Prayers & Other Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures”

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