Glittering glass ornaments, shimmering tinsel, and shiny decorations give your home a warm, holiday glow. They can also be irresistibly tempting to pets. With a few simple precautions, you can turn your holidays into a joyful and safe season for all.
Before you bring out all the decorations, do a careful assessment of your home. Choose the safest possible location for all of your festive flourishes so they’re out of reach of pets and children.
Holiday Food, Cookie, and Candy Displays
Many homes traditionally set out all sorts of holiday indulgences for sampling any time of day (or night). From fudge, wrapped and unwrapped chocolates, candies, and cookies to gingerbread houses, cakes, and pies, the holidays are a treat for everyone – except your pets.
“People food” is a huge temptation for animals, so be sure to block access to people treats. Chocolate is toxic, so keep an extra close eye on your pets around these. People foods eaten by pets can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea or worse. Keep some pet-friendly holiday treats on hand. Remember to limit table scraps, and make sure your guests know not to share their
food with your pets.
Holiday Decorations, Lights, and Candles
While many items look beautiful and harmless to us, a shard of glass from an ornament, strands of tinsel, and even those cute hand-crafted cookie/playdoh or macaroni ornaments your kids made in school can be harmful to pets if ingested. Cats, in particular, love the sparkle from tinsel which can cause irreparable internal damage if ingested.
Make sure that any electrical wires are tucked out of sight and that ornaments and lights are placed well out of reach for your curious pet’s paws. Christmas Tree lights can get extremely hot, giving your dog or cat a bad little burn if they venture over to sniff or touch them.
Remember to blow out Menorah candles (actually any type of candle!) every night. A simple bump of the table by an excited pet could send the candles tumbling and start a fire. The same is true for the ever-popular scented holiday candles, especially those that smell like food. Never leave a flame unattended!
Festive Plants, Trees, and Holiday Wreaths
Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and lilies look deceptively nice. Poinsettias do, too. However, when it comes to being safe for pets, they all belong on the naughty list. Their festive foliage can cause serious medical problems ranging from nausea to serious kidney failure and heart issues. Play it safe and opt for artificial holiday arrangements instead.
Pine needles (real and artificial) from wreaths or holiday trees can seriously injure your pet if they are ingested. If you have a live Christmas tree, you also want to keep your pet away from the water as they may be getting a dose of tree fertilizer or other harmful chemicals with their drink.
The safest place for your Christmas tree is in a room that’s off-limits to your pet. If that’s not feasible, situate it in a corner that you can block off with a play fence or other obstruction. Make sure the tree is secured and can’t topple over.
Gifts & Wrapping Paper
Who can resist the sight of gifts piled beneath the tree? Make sure that those beautifully wrapped presents are kept out of your pet’s reach, especially during gift opening time. From Styrofoam peanuts and plastic packaging to batteries, candy, and shiny twist ties, there’s a tantalizing treasure trove of temptation for your pet.
Having lots of people over to celebrate? With everyone’s attention diverted with presents and celebrations, you may want to have your pet in another room during gift exchanges to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest something harmful. Consider giving your furry friend a place of their own that’s well away from all the action and temptations. Setup a safe space that is designated as a “no people room” in a room in your house, with soft lighting and a comfortable place for your pets to relax for a bit.
Now that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe around holiday decorations, enjoy your holiday season!
[disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
Five Fun Holiday Ideas for Your Furry Family Members
The holiday season brings family gatherings, parties, gourmet feasts, celebrations, and of course, lots of gifts. Since pets are part of our families, it’s fun to include them in the celebrations whenever it’s appropriate. Here are five fun ways to make your pet’s holiday merry and bright!
1) Have a Holiday Photo Session. Whether your family is into ugly sweaters, or cute matching outfits, including your animals in your holiday photos can be fun. Consider dressing your pet in a festive holiday bandana, themed collar, or a matching outfit if your pet is willing and receptive). These photos will allow you to cherish the memories of your holiday fun together!
Make sure your pet looks their best on holiday photo day. Schedule a pet pampering groom at any of the following AZPetVet locations.
2) Have a Family Snow Day. Some refreshing playtime in the cold, crisp air will get everyone into the holiday spirit! Pack the car, and head north for a romp in the snow. Manypets, will enjoy running and playing in the magical snow. Don’t forget to bring a coat or sweater to help keep them warm outside, pet snow shoes/boots, plus some cozy towels for drying off after playtime in the snow.
3) Buy or Bake Special Pet Treats: The holidays bring cookie exchanges and lots of tempting treats, most of which are on the no-no list for pets. Whether you’re making them homemade pet-friendly holiday cookies or buying treats from your favorite pet shop, make sure your pet has some savory or sweet holiday treats, too.
You can find a myriad of homemade treat recipes on the internet, but you’ll want to make sure that they don’t contain any inappropriate ingredients (or aren’t too high in calories) for your Individual pet. Be sure to check the recipe with your vet before you get baking!
4) Spoil Them With Gifts. Not that you need a reason, but the holidays provide the perfect no-guilt opportunity to spoil your pets. Gifts of toys, accessories like a new collar or leash, treats, a warm, cozy blanket or a new pet bed will help make their holidays wonderful.
5) Give to Other Animals. Animal shelters and rescues can always use more volunteers, especially during the busy holiday season! Busy holiday schedule, so no time to volunteer? Make a donation of money, food or toys. Each holiday season the AZPetVet family of animal hospitals conducts a Holiday Donation Drive to support local non-profits. This year, we are collecting for GrandPaws Pantry and Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds. You can drop off a donation at any AZPetVet location!
National K-9 Veterans Day is celebrated each March 13th, in honor of the official birthday of the US Army K9 Corps, formed in 1942. Joseph White, a retired military working dog trainer, originated the idea for the day to honor service dogs who risked their lives for their trainers
and for the safety of our military men and women each day.
Today K-9 forces are an active part of military, police, and rescue duties. Training for each service dog is tailored to meet the demands of the job so the animal and its handler can carry out his or her duties to the fullest. We salute the efforts of all K-9 Veterans and handlers!
This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for many things. Don’t forget to be thankful for your pets. Cats, dogs, pocket pets, exotics, whatever floats your boat – pets are the best! Here are five great reasons to be thankful for pets:
1/ Unconditional love.
Animals don’t discriminate. Short, tall, fat, thin, young or old, animals accept us and love us for who we are, and there is no limit to their love – except time. Savor your time with them, and they’ll do the same. Especially when they know you’re the keeper of the treats.
2/ Pets are great companions.
Happy? Sad? Feeling sick? Your pet knows your moods, and will often try to make you feel better, or simply curl up next to you to make sure you know you’re not alone.
3/ Pets can be hilarious.
One of the greatest joys of having a pet is the laughter they provoke. When they’re running around the house like their tail is on fire, or simply playing with toys (or shredding them), it’s hard to keep a straight face watching their antics.
4/ Pets help us stay healthier.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control attributes decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with additional positive health benefits to owning pets. Owning a pet also promotes relaxation and reduces levels of overall stress. Dog owners are more likely to get outside for exercise, and to socialize with others.
5/ Pets are just magic, and their magic extends to people with severe health issues.
Therapy animals are becoming more mainstream as more organizations realize the positive benefits of pet therapy. From hospitals to age care facilities, therapy animals are making a huge difference in the lives of people of all ages. Pets seem to have the innate ability to break through barriers others cannot – and that, friends, is nothing short of magic.
From the AZPetVet family to yours – we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
Cats are awesome creatures and they’re sure to keep you laughing with their antics. Cuddling is also great – but not all cats are the cuddling type. No matter – it’s National Cat Day, so here are five great ways to let your kitty know how much you care!
1/ Adopt a cat or kitten from a local shelter or rescue – there’s always a beautiful kitty in need of a good home.
2/ Make a donation to a local shelter or rescue. Food, blankets, toys, litter and other items are always in demand.
3/ Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue where you can help by cleaning cages and litter boxes, play with the cats and kittens.
4/ Buy or plant some cat grass for your furry friends. It helps them get key nutrients and minerals into their diet, aids with digestion and helps prevent the build-up of hairballs.
5/ Take some time out to play with your cat/s. Try a cat-fishing pole with a toy or feather on the end of the line, a mirror to reflect light (careful- laser pointers can cause eye damage), crumpled paper or best of all – boxes. Cats adore boxes. “If I fits, I sits.”