It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. There’s a little more snow and a lot more hustle and bustle as the holiday draws near.
As we get ready for extra guests, wrap the presents, and hang the mistletoe, it’s important to remember to keep things safe for everyone — including our pets — over the holidays.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind as you are getting ready for Christmas:
• Christmas trees: Remember to pick up those pine needles if you have a live tree. Pine needles are not easily digested by dogs and cats, and be sure to keep pets away from water in the stand. Trees tend to leach fertilizer into the water, and the standing water can contain bacterias and algae too.
• Deck the halls: Holiday foliage creates many dangers for pets. Mistletoe and holly are dangerous plants that can cause serious problems for animals if ingested. There are also many holiday lilies that are particularly dangerous for cats. Poinsettias are often overrated in their toxicity, but they can cause stomach upset and vomiting if digested.
• Tinsel and lights: Bright lights of Christmas attract animals, and the electrical cords running in unusual places are sometimes tempting for pets. Be sure to keep cords covered or out of reach to discourage chewing. Tinsel, ribbons and bows are tons of fun for pets to play with, but are common causes of blockages, digestive issues and even choking. Also remember that dangling ornaments are a serious source of temptation for some animals — especially puppies and kittens. Be sure to keep those ornaments (and wire hooks) safely out of reach.
• Visions of sugar plums: ’Tis the season to be jolly, right? Christmas wouldn’t be the same without all of those holiday goodies. It’s important to remember that yeasts and dough for holiday baking can be dangerous to pets. Dough rising in the stomach can cause a gas buildup that can lead to bloat, and pets can have a toxic response to the fermenting dough. Additionally, holiday treats that contain chocolate or macadamia nuts can make your pets very sick, as both are seriously toxic for animals.
• Preventing the freeze: As the temperature drops, antifreeze becomes essential for the health of our vehicles. Unfortunately, it also represents quite a danger for our pets. Antifreeze tastes sweet and smells sweet, so it is attractive to our pets. However, to put it quite simply, a teaspoon can kill them. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol and in most cases ingestion is fatal. In the rare cases of survival, antifreeze results in rapid and permanent damage to the kidneys.
These are just a few things to be aware of over the holidays to help keep your pets safe and sound.
And remember, with all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the best gift you can give to your furry friends this Christmas is a little extra love and attention!
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.