Wondering how do you keep your pets safe during the holidays?
Pets are awesome but that can add a little dash of crazy to the already busy season.
There are holiday decorations that are normally not sitting out, there might be seasonal holiday plants that you need to keep the cat from deciding to snack on.
And let’s not get started about all the extra food and table scraps that dear old grandma wants to give to those begging eyes she is not used to resisting like you are.
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Routines also change during those few weeks out of the year and just like humans pets are not a fan of routines being changed.
Ready to make your life a bit easier and kick some of these holiday pet hazards to the curb?
Tips For Your Home
Since many of us are spending a lot more time indoors this year lets start with issues that will show up in your home.
Food Hazards And Sweets
Now, this is more of an annoyance rather than a health hazard if they get into the Christmas cookies. Unless your pet is the type to eat so much they get a bowel obstruction.
Dogs are amazing at figuring out where the food is and simply wrapping the goodies in plastic wrap or ziplock bag won’t keep a determined animal out. Toby (my saint bernard) is AMAZING at finding sugar, baked goods or candy he doesn’t care. He won’t stop pestering me if he finds it and will continue to remind me that its there pointing to where ever it is.
Sure it’s cute at first but when you are trying to relax with your husband while watching TV and you have a three-foot-tall dog stomping and grumbling in front of the TV it becomes a bit obnocshess.
He won’t take it off the counter but he will make a huge pest of himself until I cave or hide it so he doesn’t know where it is.
Of course, if he is being a total pain in the “you know what” for people food I am not about to reward that behavior so it has to be hidden from sight.
Putting the sweets in plastic containers will keep them fresher and should keep animals out of them.
I love this set and all of the large containers can use the same lid so you are not having to dig for the right one.
Keep your pet on her regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps. For a full list of toxic foods, visit our toxic food guide for pets or check out our comprehensive, printable infographic for toxic and hazardous food for pets (petinsurance.com)
Keeping things as consistent as possible with also help with your animal’s behavior. The more food they are given the more they think they deserve human food and will become demanding and even unruly.
The Christmas Tree
You love the sparkle that the holiday season brings with it. Weeellllll, so do your pets. Those ornaments on the Christmas tree can be quite a temptation for your pets. So here are a few tricks that will take the danger out of them and you don’t have to worry about how low you have ornaments.
Ribbon ornament hangers are an awesome way to get rid of the dangerous little wires and give your tree a classy look.
100 Pack Hand Tied Festive Red and Silver Christmas Ornament Ribbons Decoration Hangers 50 of Each Color
There are some really grate plastic ornaments that look just as good as glass bulbs. You might be doubting me a bit but have a look at these pet-safe Christmas decorations before you dismiss them.
6 Pack Christmas Ball Ornaments Rustic Christmas Tree Hanging Baubles Decorations with Pine Cones and Berries for Christmas Holiday Decorations
Tinsel Can Be A Danger Espeshaly To Cats
Tinsel, while not toxic, and not really as popular as it once was it’s defiantly dangerous enough to make it important enough to note. The shinny string that moves with the slightest draft of wind makes it irresistible to cats.
The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could actually be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required. (petinsurance.com)
Gift Wrap Ribbon
Being the proactive person that I am. I tend to order my gifts early. Wrap them and put them under the tree. Why not use them to make my home look pretty instead of taking up room in my closet?
Butttt… that can also be a problem if you have a nosy nelly in your house. If you don’t want to risk leaving them under the tree then use a side table or sofa table as your gift display.
Also, it’s best to quickly discard ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts [once they have been opened] so that your curious fur babies won’t be enticed to chew or swallow them. Ingested ribbon can cause a choking hazard and ultimately twist throughout the intestines, leading to emergency surgery and even death. (petinsurance.com)
Holiday Lighting and Candles
These are some of my must-haves for Christmas decorations BUT we have to be strategic with where we place them.
If you have candles on display, place them in a hard-to-reach spot so that your pets can not access them. Not only can pets seriously burn themselves, but knocking over candles creates a fire hazard. (petinsurance.com)
If you want to have the feel of a candle these LED lights are a great alternative as well as wax melts for adding the Christmas smell to your home.
Got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord, causing tongue lacerations and possible death. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution. (petinsurance.com)
Check The Tail Waging Zone
I started animal proofing my home years ago with the “tail waging zone.” It’s basically keeping breakable ornaments and decorations above the level of where that happy tail might be wagging.
If you have small dogs this is not as big of an issue. But, if you have dogs 40lbs or bigger this will be a lifesaver.
That way you are not cringing every time a glass bulb flies across the room.
Coffee tables, nightstands, end tables, and your fireplace all have locations that a pet could knock something over. My saint bernard is always getting something stuck in his tail….
You don’t have to leave them undecorated just put things there that won’t shatter if they get knocked. Also, things that are a bit heavier will help as well.
No Dogs Allowed Areas
Even your pets need rules and boundaries. So think about having these rules year-round not just during the holiday season.
This is a year-round rule for us not just for the holidays. Simply put, no dogs allowed in the kitchen while I am cooking. This is as much for their safety as it is mine. I don’t want to be tripping over them while I am working and try to avoid spilling something hot on them and we both end up with burns because of it.
This is a tough rule to put into place and keep it there.But its worth it.
It takes consistency and patience on everyone’s part. If you don’t have a visible line on the floor for the dogs to see like a section of carpet changing to hardwood something like that. Then place a piece of painter’s tape across the floor. This will give the dogs a visible line to stay behind.
After a month or two of consistent practice, you will be able to take up part of the tape and say “out” and the animals will know what you mean. Once they do well with part of the tape gone. Pull up all of the tape and see how they do. You can always put more down if you have to.
(funny story) I always start the “line training” with my puppies almost as soon as we get them. A female saint bernard I had was about 10 weeks old when I pulled out the tape to put it on the floor. I had to do it to two different sides to close off the main kitchen area. I got one side of tape down and went to put down the other side.
She had already figured out what I was doing and was standing in the small area that I had not yet tapped. She had her paws in the small four-inch space where the tap would go and was trying to block the space for me to put down the tape! I was in for it with that one, she was too smart for her own good.
Related post: Common behavior issues in dogs and how to fix them.
Don’t be afraid to close them in a bedroom or in the garage. Give them a spot to lay and their favorite toy and they will be fine after a few minutes.
Sure they might be aggravated at first but offer them a cookie once the guests have gone and all will be forgiven.
Tips For Travel
If you are taking your animals with you then have a little go-bag. It will make your life easier to have everything you need for them in one spot and not have to look all over the house for their stuff. If you have a space to hide the bag close to the door you will not have to deal with them being underfoot while packing. I don’t know about your dogs but when mine think they are going somewhere they go nuts.Dog bag Potty bagsTravel bowl for food/waterTravel water bottleCar bench seat cover
I had to throw this one in there. This is the coolest thing ever!
If you are finding a sitter that will stay at your home then make an easy list for the sitter. If they are an extended family member then they may not need a list. But if it is the first time for this person to stay at your home then a list of where food is, how much to give and even habits or quarks that your pets have is very helpful.
A perfect example is Toby making a pest of himself if he wants sweets. Or do they make a run for it if the door or gate is left open? Things like that.
All of the things that you know without thinking but could cause your house sitter to be late for work or spend all day chasing your dog around town.
We love our animals but sometimes we need to have a little self-preservation. Never feel bad about creating boundaries for your pets. Pets are like kids. They thrive with structure and nobody likes a brat dog either.
Create a holiday that you can enjoy that you will for years to come.