During the holidays, every family celebrates in their own unique way, whether it is the proudly strung lights on the fence out front, a secret cookie recipe or tinsel strung on the mantel. While the holidays are a source of joy and cheer, they can also pose a major threat to family pets. It is all too easy to get lost in the season and forget about all of the small things around the house that your pet can get into, especially once the family starts to roll into town.
Follow these six simple steps to ensure your home is a safe haven for all of your furry friends.
1. Put your tree in a separate room
This one may not work for everyone, depending on your house layout, but it can be a lifesaver. If you have a bonus room or a dining room with doors, try to make space for your tree there. Having the tree behind doors will ensure that your pet stays out of the pine needles.
2. Keep ornaments up high and lights higher
If you don’t have a separate room to keep your tree in, don’t worry. There are still plenty of things you can do to make the space pet-friendly. Make sure all ornaments are well out of reach for your pet. Plastic, glass and fabric ornaments are a huge hazard because they can cause choking or intestinal blockage if consumed. If you can’t find a decorative fence to put around your tree, then make sure that all the decorations are above where your pet can reach or jump. Lights are electrical which poses an even bigger threat to pets, so make sure those are kept toward the top of the tree.
3. Keep sweets in the fridge
Sugar typically plays a major role in holiday festivities. Unfortunately, chocolate and sweets are a hazard for pets and can be deadly. Whether you have a jumpy cat or an eager dog, leaving out sweets, particularly those made of chocolate, can be a bad move. Luckily, very few desserts are ruined by being stored in the fridge, and it will help them last longer; so make some room for your peppermint brownies and chocolate cream pie. When it’s time to serve, put them on high-standing platters, such as a cake stand, so you can keep the desserts well out of reach of your food-motivated pets. And if you feel like sharing some sweet love, make these homemade apple and sweet potato dog treats.
4. Invest in soy-based candles
Many candles contain a lot of unnatural ingredients that can be toxic to pets. Whether it’s to fill in your menorah or just to set the mood, it is important to choose wisely when it comes to what the wax is made of. Avoid paraffin and instead opt for a more natural candle like Mrs. Meyers Clean Day soy candles. High quality soy and beeswax-based candles tend to be free of toxic materials and are a much safer choice to have around your pets.
5. Put away the mistletoe
Now you can avoid that awkward kiss and blame it on your pet. Both mistletoe and holly have been shown to be quite toxic to pets, so it might be best to ditch these holiday classics this season.
6. Buy your little buddy a new toy
The holidays can be a very stressful time for pets. Between visitors, loud noises and all of the new obstacles, there are a lot of changes to get used to. So pick up a new plush Santa Claus for your dog, or an ornament on a string to tease your cat with. You can even make a homemade braided ball dog toy. Not only will this make for a happier pet, but it will also keep them distracted from all the stuff they shouldn’t be getting into!