Pet safety tips for the holidays

Just hear those pet tags jingle-ing, ring ting tingle-ing too … is it ever too early for holiday songs? At the Dumb Friends League, we don’t think so. It’s also not too soon to prepare for the holidays with your furry companions in mind.
Our pets are family–and, some might argue they are even better than certain members. While our curious canines and inquisitive felines always like to be the center of activities, during the holidays we need to be aware of possible pet dangers hiding amid the festivities. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa or even Festivus (for the rest of us), let’s keep our pets safe and happy because making new memories is one of the best parts of the holiday season, right?

There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy when they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
Your furry companions have no idea why you’re celebrating just that you’re celebrating, and when they get a whiff of the meal, you can bet they’ll want to pull up a bowl and join the feast. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Pets can have a taste of turkey if it’s well cooked, skinless and boneless. Don’t overdo it though because even small amounts of turkey can cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis in dogs.
  • No matter how meager, any morsel can be dangerous, including onions, raisins and grapes, which are poisonous, and anything with yeast, which is known to cause dangerous bloating and painful gas.
  • While you may call your pets “cutie pies,” they need to stay away from the related yummy treat … and any of its cousins. Some ingredients, such as chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol—commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods—can be deadly.
  • You know pets are mischievous creatures who can sniff out any remnants, including choking hazards, such as small candy and bones, so be sure to redirect all scraps to the trash and be sure it’s tied up tight!

It’ll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives
You can deck the halls until your heart grows three sizes in a day, but be aware of the following:

  • If you choose a live tree, the real trick isn’t selecting the right one, it’s getting it home, into your house and set up, so it doesn’t tip over. Think about putting a gate around the tree so that pets don’t drink from the reservoir thinking it’s a new water bowl. Even a few sips could cause nausea and other stomach issues.
  • Avoid edible ornaments, including strings of popcorn and berries, and skip the tinsel, which can be shiny and tempting for playful felines—all of which can cause stomach issues. Place treasured breakable ornaments higher on the tree, but you knew that, right?
  • Let’s face it, pets are curious, and it’s not far-fetched to that that cords and sparkly lights may prompt a little investigation. Chasing a panicked pet tangled in cords is not as relaxing as say, sitting by the fire sipping eggnog. Plus, your pet’s teeth are sharp enough to gnaw through the cords, which could cause an electrical shock or a burn. Ouch!
  • While amaryllis, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are favorite holiday plants (yes, mistletoe is a plant!), they are toxic and can cause anything from mild discomfort to severe health problems in animals. Be sure to keep these festive botanicals out of your pet’s reach because they don’t appreciate the decorative theme anyway.
  • Reminders are always good, so never leave pets alone with lit candles and unplug decorations when you’re not around.

Outside snow is falling, and friends are calling “Yoo Hoo”
The holidays are filled with parties, activities and guests, and here are some guidelines to follow so your pet remains as cool as Frosty:

  • Try to keep your pet’s regular daily routine because let’s face it, they’re creatures of habit.
  • Make sure pets have a quiet safe place to get away from the commotion (and, if there’s room for you, all the better).
  • Let your guests know you have pets and what is and isn’t OK to share nibble-wise. Also, keep a watchful eye with guest comings and goings, so you don’t have to plan a search party for an escaped pet. Be sure your pet’s tags and microchip ID are up to date in case he manages to make a run for it.

Have a fun and safe holiday season for all guests, including those with and without tails. We wish you all the joys of the season!