Written by: Nicole Ellis - Professional Dog Trainer
The holidays bring a lot of positive things from the presents, to visiting family members, all the memories and preferably not a vet visit. These tips can help you keep your holiday season happy and stress-free with your pets and guests.
Door dashing - Even if your pet usually is excellent with people coming and going, the excitement of more people over and all the festivities can be overwhelming to our pets. Ensure no pets are sneaking out the door when your visitors arrive or leave, having your pet on leash during these times can ensure no one slips out.
Food - With holiday gatherings comes delicious food. Check ahead of time to see how safe those food ingredients are and warn your guests of anything dangerous like chocolate or turkey skin, so no one sneaks your pup a snack under the table. Potentially have a jar of pet friendly treats your guests can give your pup(s).
Tree drinking- Water additives for Christmas trees can be dangerous, do not add aspirin, sugar, or anything extra to your tree water if you have pets.
Tinsel - Keep an eye on your tree decorations as tinsel can be a very tempting chew toy that can also lead to blockages and intestinal problems.
Holiday plants - Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants evoke holiday feelings in your home, but these aren't safe for pets. Poinsettia leaves contain a sap that irritates the mouth and esophagus, often leading to vomiting and nausea. Meanwhile, holly and mistletoe contain multiple substances that are toxic to both cats and dogs. Keeping them out of your home is the safest bet, but should you have them ensure they are nowhere your pets can reach and remember cats do like to climb and jump up high.
Costumes for holiday photos - We love dressing our pets up for holiday parties and pictures. Those days can be stressful in themselves without adding a new outfit. If you have a pet wardrobe planned, practice a few days before by having your pet wear it, go for a walk, do some tricks and get some belly rubs. And, of course, ensure it fits well and doesn't rub anywhere.
Candles - Ensure your candles are about tail wagging height to avoid them from getting knocked over.
Guests with pets - If you have a friend hoping to bring their pet over for your holiday festivities, it's best to meet ahead of time to ensure your pets get along, to avoid any extra stress on your pets or potential dog fights.
Diffusers, essential oils, and potpourris - We want a clean, nice-smelling home when our friends or family come over. But be careful as many diffusers, essential oils and potpourris contain essential oils that are very toxic to pets. Instead, spray your pet with a probiotic deodorizer and use pet-safe candles.
Trash - Lastly, the trash is often filled with delicious smells and potentially dangerous food items. Make sure your garbage has a well-fitting lid or consider putting it in a kitchen closet during the festivities to keep inquiring noses away.