As any person who’s owned by a cat will tell you: Christmas trees are a tricky decoration. In fact, pretty much everything that goes into decking the halls is like fly paper to your kitty. Ornaments are fun to bat with her paws, strings of lights are tasty between-meal snacks, and a tree standing in the middle of the living room is just begging to get climbed – and ultimately knocked to the ground (but that won’t stop her from trying it again). But that’s why the holidays are so magical for your pets: It starts with the smells from Thanksgiving dinner and ends with everlasting pine needles embedded in your carpet (so many fun experiences in such a short amount of time!). This week, Wisconsin Pet Care highlights some helpful seasonal hints that will ensure all of your furry friends’ festivities are merry and bright!
*Just say no to tinsel. The shiny stuff always catches your cat’s eye (the key to the cat wand’s success), and just like dental floss, it can be a real hazard to her digestive system. The slightest touch can transform a tinseled tree into the largest cat toy imaginable. If you suspect that your pet has consumed pieces of tinsel decoration, it is important to quickly seek emergency veterinary care. If left untreated, tinsel consumption can be lethal.
*Unplug Christmas lights when they aren’t in use. When you’re not home to see what your pet is up to, you want to be sure that the lights are unplugged from the wall. However, electrocution isn’t the only concern: Chomping on wires can cause mouth lacerations and the chewed off pieces can create a choking hazard. Even pets who show no interest in your other electrical components could be inspired to become more investigative with the “foreign” objects added to your home during the holiday season. Be sure to monitor your pet’s behavior and periodically inspect wires for teeth marks and/or fraying.
*Keep those ornaments from dangling below the branches. It’s always that bottom branch that leaves the ornaments hanging there…just taunting your feline friend to come take a swat! Out of sight, out of mind (or out of immediate reach anyway).
*Donate the poinsettia plant to your church. They may be pretty, but they can make your pet sick. In fact, none of the holiday plants and foliage are very good for your pet – pine, mistletoe and holly are all dangerous when ingested. For a list of plants/trees/flowers that are unsafe for your animals, the ASPCA has a very helpful online resource center.
*Put your pet in another room. Of course, you want your beloved companions to enjoy the festivities, but it is important to remember that all of the hustle and bustle can be stressful to them. Large groups of people, a louder than normal environment and so many sights and smells can cause your pet anxiety. One way to get the best of both worlds is to allow your dog or cat to come into the room once all of the present opening and meal preparation has been completed. This is typically a time when everyone is more calm and enjoying the company at a less hurried pace.
For more tips on spending the holidays with your pets, or other health and wellness topics related to cats and dogs, be sure to read the Wisconsin Pet Care blog each week!