Christmas and the holidays are a festive time for people and pets alike, but the holidays hold certain dangers for pets as well. By observing some basic Christmas safety tips for pets, you can keep your animal friends healthy and happy, and reduce your own stress. Additionally, if you are considering the gift of an animal for the holidays, please reconsider; think about giving someone pet supplies, or sponsoring a gift to an animal shelter on someone's behalf.
Most Christmas safety tips for pets surround the Christmas tree, which is probably the biggest temptation for animals. If you have a Christmas tree, make sure that it is well secured, and avoid the use of small decorations which your pet could swallow. Do not use tinsel, foil, or artificial snow, because these decorations can severely injure your pet if swallowed. Secure ornaments well, and consider displaying fragile or precious ornaments in a less tempting area of the house so that they are not broken by curious pets. Edible decorations like popcorn are a no-no, and if you use Christmas lights or other electrical decorations, secure the cords well and make sure that they are firmly anchored in their electric sockets.
Many Christmas decorations present a choking hazard to pets. If you use ribbons, keep them out of reach, and do not use ribbons to decorate your pets for the holidays, as your pets could swallow the ribbons. Wrapping paper and ribbons should be promptly disposed of, and you should keep candles and lamps well out of reach, as pets could burn themselves or start a fire.
If you decide to bring in holiday foliage or plants, remember that many plants are toxic to pets. Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettia are all very dangerous for animals. Keep this foliage well out of reach, if you bring it in at all. You should also avoid using tempting edible decorations and ornaments around the house, and the Christmas safety tips for pets which apply to electrical decorations on the tree apply in other parts of the house as well.
Try to avoid the use of chemicals when you celebrate the holidays, as your pets could ingest these substances and become seriously injured. Some examples of things to avoid are Christmas tree food, salts which make your fire glow in various colors, and aerosol air fresheners. You should also try to avoid overfeeding your pet during the holidays. Many leftovers are not good for your pet because they contain harmful ingredients, or they are high in fat. If you want your pets to have a treat, purchase a nutritionally balanced pet treat from your pet store or veterinarian.
One of the biggest Christmas safety tips for pets surrounds visitors and travel. Many people like to visit each other during the holidays, but this can be stressful for pets. If you hold holiday visiting hours, consider confining your pets in a safe, comfortable place with plenty of food and water so that they will feel secure. If you need to travel for the holidays, find a reliable pet sitter rather than taking your pets along; travel delays and other stresses are annoying for you, but they can be deadly for animal companions as pets are more sensitive to stress and temperature extremes.
If you have friends with animals, please share these Christmas safety tips for pets to ensure that they have a safe and happy holiday!