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Holiday - Proofing For Your Pets

By Dr. Jean Hofve

The holiday season, while a happy time for most people, can be a stressful and even dangerous time for pets. Their routines are upset, visitors abound, and extra-tempting smells are coming from the kitchen!

Sharing is one of the most beloved aspects of the holidays, and it’s fine to share some turkey and other goodies with your pets. However, the caution about feeding “scraps” remains in effect - do not give your cat or dog any dinner discards, like turkey or ham bones, or fatty items like turkey skin. These can cause serious tummy upset; in dogs especially, too much fat can trigger life-threatening pancreatitis. Ask dinner guests to refrain from feeding “under the table” - or better still, keep pets safely confined during the festivities. Chocolate, of course, is toxic to both dogs and cats - they’re safer with treats than sweets! After dinner, be sure the garbage is secure from any sneaky paws that may come prowling after the rest of the family is asleep!

The holiday season can be very stressful for our pets. Natural remedies, like flower essences for anxiety, herbs for stress, and homeopathy for stress, can help cope with the increased hustle and bustle. Help your pet handle the visitors and excitement of the holidays with SpiritEssence Holiday Stress Stopper, HomeoPet Anxiety remedy, Only Natural Pet Just Relax Flower Essences, or Only Natural Pet Relaxi-Herb Herbal Formula.

A Christmas tree may be irresistibly tempting to explore or even climb, so if you have one, make sure it's in a sturdy stand, and if necessary, secure it with twine or wire to keep it from falling. Do keep your pets away from the water in the stand, which can contain toxic tree sap and other chemicals. Use a “tree skirt,” or wrap a towel, sheet, or other barrier around the base of the tree and stand and tape it securely, or otherwise make the area inaccessible to your furry friends.

Keep glass ornaments to a minimum if you must use them at all, and place them higher on the tree, with unbreakable ornaments lower down. A broken glass ornament is a minefield for tender little paws. If a pet eats all or part of a glass ornament, immediately feed cotton balls or bread soaked in milk or cream; the soft material will gather up all the sharp pieces and guide them safely through the digestive system and out the other end! Keep other small or breakable holiday decorations out of reach.

Lights and wires on the tree and around the home pose an invitation to chew for both cats and dogs. Make sure all wiring is in good condition. For wires that are easily accessible to curious mouths (especially young animals or those that like to chew things), run the wires through inexpensive foam pipe insulators (available at any home improvement or hardware store). Of course, never leave the lights on overnight or when you aren’t home to supervise; many house fires have started that way!

Metal tinsel is rare these days, but Mylar garland and decorations can also pose a hazard if swallowed. Its sharp edges can cause serious damage to a pet’s intestines. If your pet is young, or likes to chew on ribbons, garland and such, consider beaded garland instead. Also, when unwrapping presents, make sure all ribbon and string is safely disposed of - these can also be hazardous to pets if ingested.

Parties and visitors increase the risk of a cat slipping out through an open door; make sure all your pets are micro-chipped and wearing collars and ID tags. (If your pet needs a new collar this holiday season, check out our stylish selection!) If possible, provide a “base camp” for your pet that includes food, water, bed, scratching post, and litter box, in a room that’s less likely to be disturbed. No decorations in that room, please, especially lit candles! (Of course, unattended burning candles are a serious hazard any time of year!) To make base camp even more comforting to your pet, spray Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe around the room, or put a dropper full of flower essences in a spray bottle filled with spring water, and spritz the area.

A little extra care and attention will make this holiday season a safe and joyous one for the whole family!

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The articles and information in the Holistic Healthcare Library are presented for informational purposes only and are not intended as an endorsement of any product. The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian. Instead, the content offers the reader information and opinions written by our staff, guest authors, and/or veterinarians concerning animal health issues and animal care products.

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