Here are some helpful tips to get your pets through the holidays safe and stress-free!
1. Make sure your Christmas tree is pet-proof.
Our curious little pets will want to explore the tree that is suddenly in their house, and some cats and dogs will try to jump onto, or even into, the tree! This could cause the Christmas tree to crash onto the floor, potentially harming them. To avoid this situation, make sure your tree is anchored securely by checking your tree stand often, and that the bolts are firmly locked in place to the tree. If you do have animals that are jumpers, the best advice is to put a barrier or baby gate around the tree.
2. Christmas tree water is not safe for pets to drink
Real Christmas trees are preserved with pesticides and fertilizers. A specific one is Aspirin, which can be fatal for cats who lack the necessary protein in their livers to break it down. Dogs can handle it better, but if too much, it can be deadly. To prevent your pets from drinking the water, you can cover the tree stand with aluminum foil or a tree skirt that covers the top of the opening.
3. Christmas ornaments
It is a good idea to put your breakable or antique ornaments at the top of the tree as cats like to play with ornaments. Chewing on ornaments, especially glass or sharp plastic, can cause cuts in the mouth, throat, and digestive system. Garland and tinsel, when consumed, could result in blockages that can harm or even kill your pets. This goes with Christmas lights as well, which if also played with could result in electrocution, resulting in great harm and death. Make sure you do not leave your Christmas candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if knocked over. Make sure if you leave the room, blow the candles out!
4. Pick pet-safe Christmas plants
Popular holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can be very poisonous to cats and dogs if consumed. Many can cause gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and even slowed heartbeat, which could all result in death if severe.
5. Keep your gifts and candy out of reach
Make sure any gifts, especially chocolates and candies, are out of reach of your pets. If you think your pet may have eaten something they should not have, contact your veterinarian immediately and call poison control. The ASPCA emergency poison hotline number is 1-888-426-4435.