February 1, 2013

1. Holiday plants like Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe and Poinsettia are hazardous (and potentially fatal) if consumed by pets. Keep them up high and out of reach. The stress of the holidays with lots of visitors, disrupted routines and travel can sometimes cause a pet to try nibbling on foliage to try to ease anxiety-related tummy aches, so consider buying a small container of fresh growing wheatgrass when you’re buying your holiday groceries and set it somewhere that your pup or kitty can graze on that instead.

2. Wrapping paper and ribbons can be a safety concern. Many dogs love to tear up discarded wrapping paper after the gifts have been open, and leave a shredded mess behind. This can be fun for human family members to watch too – but keep a close eye on him to make sure any ribbons, name tags and paper aren’t swallowed.

3. If you’ll be leaving your pet alone while you attend holiday parties or other gatherings, consider leaving the TV or radio on. Many pet owners do this! It can help a pup to feel less anxious in your absence, compared with the silence of an empty house. An interactive toy like Planet Dog’s Orbee Tuff™ Ball can also help to keep them busy while you’re gone. Consider stuffing it with some re-hydrated Honest kitchen™ food and pop it in the freezer for a few hours and serve it just as you leave. It’s provide a distraction for a much longer period of time than serving a regular meal from a bowl, and might take his mind off the fact that he’s home alone. For very anxious pups, add a little Quiet Tea™ to the mix, to help him feel calm and relaxed.

4. Christmas trees are surprisingly easy to pull right over if they aren’t well secured. If electric tree lights are present, this can end in a terrible, dangerous tangle for an unsuspecting pet who was just looking for a little fun with the baubles. Consider using an x-pen to either confine a curious pet or shield the tree itself, if you aren’t around to supervise.

5. Be sure that holiday guests understand what foods you do and don’t want you’re your pet to be fed. If he’s hanging out with the guests, a ‘no scraps at all’ rule might be simpler to enforce than trying to train guests on which foods are pet-safe. If you do allow guests to give scraps or other treats, be clear about your house rules, such as whether you allow feeding directly from the table, or if you pup must sit first before he gets a treat. With younger dogs especially, it’s easy to set back months of training if the rules half-change for the holidays.