Once again, the holiday season is upon us. Amidst all of the excitement and anticipation comes the stress of planning, shopping, and getting together with family and friends. There seems to be no end to the To Do list. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed out this time of year, chances are your pets are feeling it as well. As the holiday celebrations approach, there are many things you can do to help your pets stay safe and deal with the stress they may be feeling.
The excitement we feel as friends and family come to visit is exhilarating, yet still a little stressful. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and children all burst into your home for a wonderful holiday visit. Your pets may (or may not) be equally excited about the invasion of their home. Many times, our pets become over-stimulated with the presence of SO many people and the disruption to their lives.
To accommodate their discomfort, make sure your pets have a safe place that they can rest and be removed from the chaos of the family gathering. A bedroom or a dog crate can be the perfect place for pets to rest and disengage from the noisy happenings in the home. Make sure your guests know that your pets are resting and need a little alone time. In addition, do your best to keep up your daily routines with your pets. Normal walking and feeding times will ultimately help your pet stay calm and reassure them that all is well in their home.
While the pets are resting comfortably, you and your family will undoubtedly be rushing around the kitchen serving guests and preparing the seasonal feast. As the appetizing aromas fill the house, your pets might want to come out and join the fun… (actually, the food). As usual, the holiday feast is maxed out with delicious, mouth-watering delicacies. When you and your family sit down at the table, your pets may suddenly seem MUCH more amiable to this whole holiday experience!
As tempting as it might be to slip Fido a tasty morsel from the table, it is best not to. Many of our favorite holiday foods are too fatty for our pets and may also contain ingredients than can be harmful to them. (Chocolate, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts can be toxic to both dogs and cats.) Even if your holiday foods aren’t toxic to them, they are often too rich for their sensitive digestive systems. Stomach upset and the pain that it presents is not worth the risk of a few tasty bites from the table.
Mealtime may not be the only holiday tradition that can be troublesome with pets. The Christmas tree can sometimes be a frustrating (but amusing) item to add to your holiday décor. While you fully understand the reason for bringing a tree into the house, your pets may assume that this is yet another MARVELOUS new toy to be enjoyed. Your cat will commend you for FINALLY identifying what a true cat climbing tree should look like! (Hanging those colorful little cat toys from the branches is such an added bonus, AND it even comes with a water bowl conveniently located at the base of the tree…GENIUS!!!) Okay, so your cat doesn’t exactly get the concept, but you can understand what he may be thinking. It’s all about the cat…not you.
Unfortunately, because cats DO think this way, there are some precautions we have to take to keep them safe. No, ornaments are not toys. Tree tinsel is not for eating or chewing on. If fact, MOST of our holiday decorations should be kept away from both dogs and cats. Ribbons, ornaments, holiday plants, and a multitude of other decorative items need to be carefully monitored or totally removed from our curious pets. Every year, thousands of pets are seriously injured or sickened by dangers that could have been easily prevented. Keep them safe by eliminating anything that they may chew on or potentially swallow.