pets and christmas treeYou know we love seeing your pets – and we’d love for you to visit during the holidays, but we don’t want it to be related to a mishap. As wonderful as they are, some of your favorite traditions and Christmas trimmings can pose a danger to your cat or your dog. Keep these tips in mind as you do the countdown through December and on to the New Year.

1. Tame the Tannenbaum. The lovely branches of a live tree are very appealing to a cat. Try to place your tree so that it’s not near a piece of furniture that your cat could use as a spring board to jump from. Families with adventurous puppies or kittens may opt to have the tree in a play pen as a precaution.

2. Spiked Water. Dogs and cats are funny critters, drinking from toilets or Christmas tree stands at any opportunity. Water from the stand could poison your pet due to the pesticides or fertilizer solutions designed to keep your tree fresh. To block your pet from drinking this water, strategically place a Christmas tree skirt over the stand.

3. Keep Those Angels Way Up High. Cats or dogs may try to chew on ornaments or lights; tinsel and ribbons can also be tempting. Unfortunately, all that glitters can wreak havoc on the digestive system of a pet that ingests them and could require a costly, traumatic surgery. Keep potentially dangerous decorations at the top of the tree. To discourage a cat’s curiosity, apply a cat repellent to the base of tree or on strands of lights near the bottom of the tree. Turn off tree lights if you’re not home.

4. Warning: Holly, Jolly Christmas. Many times in nature, bright colors are a warning. It’s true that poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are all poisonous to your pet. If you decorate with them, keep them out of your pet’s reach.

5. Don’t Give Her That Figgy Pudding. You may be tempted to slip some of the rich food that you love to your pet, but keep in mind that too much fatty foods could result in pancreatitis. Beware of symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting, and lethargy – they could indicate a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention. Questions? See the article on Should You Give Your Dog Table Food?

6. It’s a Wrap! As you’re wrapping presents and singing loudly along with your favorite Christmas tunes, be aware of ribbon. An ingested ribbon can cause a blockage in your dog or cat’s intestine or stomach and require emergency surgery.

7. The More the Merrier? Holiday guests will change your routine somewhat. Some pets are happy to welcome extra folks into your home, while other pets are a little nervous with company, especially small children. Be sure your dog still gets the needed exercise, and perhaps allow your cat a little extra space for a bit. You may also consider giving your dog or cat a vacation with us in the doggy daycare or kitty condo!

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year – but without a few precautions, your favorite Christmas traditions could mean a less than wonderful time for you and your pet. So check our list – maybe you should check it twice – and keep your pets safe and happy as you celebrate the Season.