Let’s face it – our pets are very interested in the holidays, particularly when it comes to tinsel, glass ornaments, dropped table food, and of course, twinkle light “chew toys.” Although they’ll always be on our Nice list, the temptation of holiday decorations can cause our pets to act quite Naughty! That’s why it’s important to “pet proof” your home during the Christmas season. Not only do you save your décor, but you also prevent your pet from getting hurt or sick.

Bad Enough to Eat

Real trees and plants are great for setting an authentic, Christmas vibe, but BEWARE! Plants like holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and pine needles can cause stomach irritation and are toxic to your pet. Try placing your tree and plants in places where your pet cannot get to them. If you do decide to get a fake tree, note that your pets will be less interested in them. Also, remember to secure your Christmas tree in case your pet decides to jump or nest in the branches.

Aside from live plants and trees, there is a long list of Christmas décor items that can be toxic to your pet and cause harm to the digestive system if consumed. Artificial snow, ribbon, string and tinsel can affect your pet’s digestion if eaten. Glues, potpourri and toy batteries are toxic to all animals. Twinkle lights may shock or electrocute your pet if they are chewed on.  Preventative measures can be taken to ensure pet safety – 1. Don’t tempt them with food decorations. Take down the popcorn and cookie ornaments, and keep Santa’s cookies on a high table. 2. Use baby gates to keep them from entering certain areas. Although this may be kind of a pain at first, it will only last for the duration of the holidays. Better safe than sorry! For more tips on how to prevent your pet from getting sick or hurt during the holidays, visit this website:  https://goo.gl/vw625S

Too Much Turkey

Giving your fur baby holiday food can be a fun experience, but remember to limit the amount and make sure that the ingredients are suitable for them. Preparing a separate holiday meal for them may clear this up – unseasoned chicken or beef, white rice, plain bread, canned pumpkin, cashews, ham, and honey are all on the Nice List for your pets. Before feeding them, check to see the appropriate amounts that are safe for the size of your pet.  

Beware…ingredients like garlic are a No No for dogs. That’s why it is important to prohibit table feeding, as foods like turkey may contain large amounts of garlic. Other foods on the Naughty list are chocolate, cinnamon, almonds, ice cream and macadamia nuts. For more info on each food, check out this link: https://goo.gl/bc1S4P 

Broken Glass…Everywhere

By now you know that glass anything is not the best idea for pets to be around. Luckily for you, there are so many wonderful, unbreakable plastic ornaments. However, be cautious of toxic adhesives and glues that your pet may ingest why playing with the them. Just as you would to keep your child safe, secure large furniture that may have glass décor. Keep candles out of reach and make sure your wax plugins cannot be tampered with. Watch out for “Christmas cats” nesting in your tree – even though the dog can’t reach the glass ornaments at the top, the cat sure can! The main message is being mindful of your décor. Home Alone is a great Christmas movie, but you don’t want your pet to unknowingly set booby traps for you!

Hire “Elves” to Watch the Pets during Holiday Celebrations

A fun way to involve your children in pet-proofing is to assign them the duty of being pet safety “elves.” Duties include:  Making sure they aren’t eating foods on the Naughty list, giving them toys to play with instead of ornaments, taking away décor that may hurt their tummies, playing with the pets in the designated areas, watching that extended family doesn’t feed them from the dinner table during holiday feasts and reporting back to Santa Paws through a letter to let him know how good the pets are behaving.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our pet holiday safety tips! For more info on pet safety, visit the links and the end of the sections above. From all of us here at Heckenkemper Real Estate Team, we wish you a safe and merry holiday season!