‘Tis the season, a time for gathering with friends and family, giving thanks, relaxing, and looking ahead to the new year that awaits all of us. It can also be a hectic time, especially for those of us with pets.
From cats climbing Christmas trees and dogs who won’t stop getting into the gifts underneath, we’ve all experienced the stress of keeping our pets safe and healthy during the holidays while maintaining our own sanity.
Read on to get answers to all of your most pressing questions about pet care during the holidays in one place with the definitive “HOWLiday” pet care guide from Space Coast Pets.
How do I keep my pets out of the presents?
Tradition might compel you to keep the family’s presents under the Christmas tree. Still, if you have four-legged family members who like to chew, burrow, claw, or are simply curious and have a habit of getting into things they shouldn’t, maybe you should consider storing the family gifts somewhere out of your pets’ reach.
Pets may be naturally drawn to your Christmas tree, and adding presents to the mix could deepen their curiosity. Using a high table to display or store gifts away from the tree is a viable option, or you can keep them entirely out of sight until it’s time to open them.
If you absolutely MUST keep gifts under the tree, make sure you provide your pets’ with their own holiday gifts early, like chew toys for dogs or catnip-infused toys for cats, to keep them occupied and away from the presents.
How do I keep my cat from climbing the Christmas tree?
Just like Santa loves his milk and cookies, it’s a fact that cats love Christmas trees, and cat lovers know that cats and Christmas trees combine to create a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, there are some surefire ways to keep your cat away from the tree so everyone can enjoy a safe and sane holiday season.
For real trees, securely cover the base with a tree skirt to keep the cat away from the water. Since most cats don’t like aluminum foil or citrus, consider wrapping the tree trunk with aluminum foil and placing orange or lemon peels at the tree’s base.
Whether you decorate with a natural or artificial tree, make sure you place the tree away from launch zones to eliminate the temptation to jump into the tree. Also, be thoughtful about how you decorate. For example, place ornaments higher in the tree and closer to the center instead of at the end of branches, making it harder for your cat to reach them. Consider using tie ornaments rather than ornaments with hooks, which can be dangerous to kitties, and skip the tinsel because it is not only tempting but dangerous for animals.
What holiday foods are safe for pets to eat?
Why should humans be the only ones to enjoy a delicious holiday meal?
Let’s face it, when we sit down for our holiday feasts, our pets will want in on the action. Some of the most delicious and nutritious holiday foods for pets include bananas, apples, and carrots.
Cats and dogs also love pumpkin puree. However, you should never substitute pumpkin puree with pumpkin pie filling as it contains nutmeg, which can make pets sick. Instead, only use pure pumpkin puree.
Is turkey safe for dogs and cats?
Yes! Properly cooked, unseasoned, skinless white turkey meat is safe for cats and dogs in small amounts. Turkey is an ingredient in many pet foods and treats because most cats and dogs love the flavor. Ground turkey is also acceptable for dogs and cats as long as it has no additives.
What holiday foods are UNSAFE for pets to eat?
Keep your cats and dogs away from the following foods this holiday season:
- Onion and garlic: Both onion and garlic can cause gastrointestinal issues and anemia. While you won’t be feeding onions or garlic to your pet, they may be found in certain food items, like sausage, so check the ingredients before offering treats to your pet.
- Grapes or raisins: Grapes and raisins, even in small amounts, may result in kidney failure. Keep any food items containing either one away from pets.
- Cooked Bones: Although dogs love bones, cooked bones are brittle, and fragments can easily break off and choke them. Obviously, cats should be given toys to play with instead of bones, cooked or not.
- Chocolate: You probably already know chocolate is toxic to dogs, but it is just as poisonous to cats. Keep it out of their reach.
If you are looking for safe and healthy ways to enjoy the holidays with your pets, check out our 12 festive ways to include your pets in your holiday festivities.
Are mistletoe and poinsettia safe to have around pets?
Mistletoe and poinsettias are toxic to both pets and humans. So, this holiday season, keep these plants out of reach of pets and kids, or, better yet, keep them out of the house altogether.
Other holiday plants and flowers that are toxic to pets include lilies, cyclamen, and amaryllis.
Should I get my kid a pet for the holidays?
A significant benefit to welcoming new pets to the family during the holiday season is that, usually, you’ll have time to prepare, form bonds with the pet, begin training, and focus on socialization. It’s also the perfect time of year to involve the entire family in welcoming the new addition, with everyone home from school or work.
However, before adding a pet to your family, it is essential to recognize that caring for a pet can be a lot of work. While having a pet can be a rewarding experience for a child and teach responsibility, taking stock of your situation is crucial to ensuring that your family is prepared to invite a new family member into the home.
Consider the costs and the commitment of becoming a pet parent and weigh the pros and cons before bringing a new pet into your home.
Have a Happy, Safe, and Healthy HOWLiday!
If you’ve found our HOWLiday pet care guide useful, check out our tips on how to have a pet-friendly holiday season!
No matter how you celebrate the HOWLidays, we wish you and your pets the happiest, safest, and healthiest season ever!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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