At Petplan we want to ensure the holidays are a great time for everyone in your family – including your pet.
If you have a cat or dog in your family it is important to consider their health and well-being when planning for the holidays.
What to consider when decorating your home for the holidays
Decorating your home for the holidays is a great way get into the festive spirit and spread cheer in the neighbourhood.
You must be careful when choosing what decorations to put up and where you put certain decorations as pets may perceive them as toys or food. Many of your favourite traditional decorations are extremely hazardous to your pet’s health.
Tinsel: Hang tinsel out of reach of your pet or, better yet, don’t use it at all. Tinsel can block your pet’s intestine.
Twinkle Lights: Hang lights out of reach of your pet. Your pet could become tangled in them, get burned by them, or get an electric shock from chewing them.
Ornaments: Keep decorations out of reach of your pet. Broken ornaments can cut your pet’s paw and they are a choking hazard. Edible ornaments like popcorn and cranberry strings can make your pet sick.
Christmas Tree: Keep your Christmas tree in an area where your pet is least likely to jump onto it. Clean up any tree needles that fall from the branches of live trees as they can puncture your pet’s intestines.
Potpourri & Scented Candles: Pets may mistake cinnamon sticks or dried flower petals for treats and ingesting these can make your pet extremely ill. Liquid potpourri is extremely toxic to cats and, if consumed, it causes chemical burns and life threatening reactions in dogs and cats.
Poinsettias, Flowers, and Plants: Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and other yuletide plants can make your pets very sick if ingested. Flower arrangements containing fragrant lilies (tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, etc.) should not be accepted by or gifted to people who own cats. Lilies are highly toxic to cats and cause severe, acute, kidney failure! Opt for silk and plastic flowers or roses, orchids, or daises.
Wrapping Presents: Wrap gifts away from your pets and be sure to clean up afterwards. Wrapping paper, ribbons, tape, and plastic are choking hazards and could cause intestinal blockages. Make sure you don’t leave your scissors on the floor or on a low table.
Plan your holiday party with your pet in mind
Spending time with friends and family is intrinsic to all holiday traditions.
When you host a holiday party it is important to consider the needs of your cat or dog and to plan ahead to ensure the safety and well-being of your pets and your guests.
Communicate with your Guests: Do your guests have allergies? Are they comfortable with animals? Will your pet intimidate them? Make sure you are aware of your guests’ needs and that your guests are aware of your pet’s needs. If necessary, tell your guests ahead of time what to expect from your pet. Every pet is different and it is not impolite to ask your guests to give your pet space.
Prepare your Pet: Is your cat a social butterfly? Is your dog nervous around children? Having guests in your house can be stressful for your pet so ask yourself whether or not your pet will enjoy being a part of your party. You may need to make arrangements for someone to care for your pet elsewhere, or designate a certain part of the house and/or backyard where your guests will not bother your pet. Even if your pet loves human interaction set up a quiet space he can retreat to in case he becomes overwhelmed. Ensure your pet has access to water and a litter box or an area where he is allowed to do his business.
Petiquette: Do not let your pet jump on guests. When your guests arrive put your dog on a leash or put him in the backyard to stop him from jumping on guests and from escaping through the open door. For your pet’s own well-being he should not beg for food so be sure your pet is well trained before the party. Guests should not feed your pet as many human foods are unsafe for dogs and cats.
Toxic/Dangerous Foods: Do not let your guests feed your pet poultry bones or anything containing chocolate, grapes, raisins, currants, onions, or garlic. Make sure all food, including wrapped boxes of chocolate, is kept out of reach of your pet. If your dog or cat does eat something toxic call your veterinarian immediately.
Fireworks: Many people associate the holidays and summer festivals with fireworks. If you have pets it is best not to have fireworks as cats and dogs find the loud noise extremely stressful. If you do decide to have fireworks keep them away from your pets. Fireworks contain harmful chemicals like potassium nitrate that cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and seizures.