The holiday season marks the end of the year and a fresh beginning, with all the joys of family union, gift giving and festive celebrations. Your pets are family and should also benefit by the added gaiety of the holiday spirit.

As you prepare your home for the holidays, please keep in mind that not all decorations or holiday sweets are pet-friendly. As you deck the halls, please keep these safety tips in mind:

O Christmas Tree!

Your tree should be anchored so it doesn’t tip over, especially when nosy noses notice something new in the room.

Cats especially like to climb trees. Imagine how interesting TINSEL can be!
If you have a natural tree, make sure the tree water is kept clean.
Small, breakable ornaments should be at the top of your tree. Consider ornaments with tie string vs hooks…broken ornaments are a common occurrence; shards and hooks on the floor can be hazardous to puppy’s paws.

Be careful about tree lights, too, as they can cause electric shock or burns if chewed on…not to mention flocked trees that could be toxic if the branches become Fido’s new chew stick!

Only turn your tree lights on when you are home. Take the same precaution with lit candles.

Keep presents stored offsite as long as possible (so they aren’t opened early by curious canines).

Holiday Treats!

Don’t fudge on the sweets…of course we want to indulge in yummy chocolate and Christmas confections. That’s o.k. for humans, yet chocolate (and any product with the sweetener Xylitol) is toxic to our pets. NOTE: Xylitol may be an ingredient found in some brands of peanut butter, yogurt, toothpaste and chewing gum. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and tremors – and they usually begin within 15-30 minutes of consumption.

Dog-Safe Toys!

Some dogs like to “attack their prey” (they can’t help their ancestral disposition), so be sure to buy dog toys that do not have small parts or squeaky inserts. Unless your dog is a soft gummer, stick with sturdier chew toys, such as Nyla bones, Bully Sticks or Kongs.

Toxic Holiday Plants!

Holly, Mistletoe & Lilies are potential GI upsets waiting to happen, if ingested. If you have these natural plants in the home, make sure they are well out of nose reach! PS: according to Pet Poison Hotline, “Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. … While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated. When ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen.”

Having said that, I personally tend to err on the side of caution, so would not experiment with low-lying plants of any kind.

Keep It to Yourself!

Alcohol, fatty or sugary foods and meat bones should not be shared with the furry family members. Make sure to quickly wipe up any spills of these spoils before Fido does!

New Year’s Noise!

Remember that loud noises, firecrackers and party horns are fun for us, yet may cause anxiety for some dogs. So much so, they may attempt to escape. If your dog is prone to anxiousness, place him in a quiet room during the countdown to 2018. Include treats, puzzle toys and calming music on the radio or TV. For extreme anxiety-prone dogs, consider a Thundershirt (sold in pet stores and on Amazon at the same price).

If you are hosting a festive party and need a quiet place for your dog to “park and bark”, consider our cage-free dog boarding service. We offer loving pet care for the daytime, evening and overnights, or extended care as needed. We would be happy to host your furry child in a quiet, loving home while you celebrate the season and ring in the New Year.

Warm wishes for peace, love and joy always.