As you get ready to decorate your home for the festive season, here are few tips to keep your pets’ safe:
- Avoid hanging edible ornaments—including festive dog treats shaped like Santa Claus or gingerbread men—or decorating with small toys, such as catnip-filled mice and brightly colored crinkly balls. Most pets are unable to resist the urge to investigate and could be injured by a falling tree. Small ornaments could be ingested and create an intestinal blockage.
- Discourage feline and canine interest in the tree by sprinkling the tree skirt and lower branches with ordinary household ground white pepper or spraying them with a nontoxic taste deterrent.
- Poinsettias are popular holiday flowers often used to decorate the base of the tree, as well as other places throughout the home; however, the white, milky sap in their leaves is toxic to pets. Consider using realistic silk plants instead, or sprinkle pepper on the leaves as a deterrent.
- The festive season is also synonymous with beautiful candles. However, if there are pets (or small children) in the home, it’s a good idea to decorate with flameless candles. These will add ambience to the home and prevent serious accidents.
- It is important to ensure cables for holiday lights are well concealed. Curious pets may be tempted to chew on electric cables, which can result in burns, singed whiskers, or even fatal electrocution. Special cable covers infused with citronella can be used to deter chewing.
- It’s easy to lose track of pets when entertaining. Regular supervision is necessary to ensure pets do not get outside or steal food when no one is looking. Most dogs and cats do not enjoy loud gatherings. It’s a stressful invasion of their territory. An anxious pet may even try to escape through an open, unattended door. Consider giving your pets their own party by isolating them in a quiet room and providing lots of distraction toys and treats.
- The remains of a holiday meal—including bones, corncobs, and plastic utensils—can cause serious harm if ingested. Many holiday foods, such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and chocolates are toxic to pets.
- Keep alcohol out of reach. Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death.