5 pet safety tips for the holidays

Dear friends, I just adore how you treat your animals not like pets, but as genuine family members. That’s why I’m sharing the following tips—so we can make sure our fur babies don’t get into too much trouble while we are busy feasting and merry-making! You might already know everything on this list, but it doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look and keep the following in mind. Here’s to you and your animals having a happy (and healthy) holiday!

1. Just say no to holiday scraps: We all know not to give table scraps to our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes that begging look in their eyes is just too tempting! If you simply must share something special, cook up a nutritious treat that’s safe for dogs and cats, such as thoroughly washed and baked carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes or green beans that are plain and unsalted. (Onion and garlic are no-nos!) Dogs also delight in the occasional dollop of lip-smacking peanut butter. But no matter what, keep pets away from all that chocolate lying around, or you just may end up in the emergency room.

2. Keep an eye on festive holiday plants: While poinsettias aren’t exactly fatal to dogs and cats, they are toxic, so you don’t want to catch them munching on the petals or leaves. Holly and mistletoe are also dangerous—so if you plan on decorating with them anyway, find ways to keep Fido and Mittens away. And don’t forget the Christmas tree: Some cats enjoy drinking the tree’s water, so just make sure the stand is off limits.

3. Be wary of tinsel and curling ribbon: All those sparkly gifts! Cats LOVE to play with string, and curling ribbon is almost too irresistible. Make sure after wrapping anything you throw away all the scraps. Otherwise, you may be watching the litter box (or calling the vet) if a 10-inch, shiny ribbon mysteriously disappears. (It’s happened before. Don’t ask!) Tinsel is another tempting cat or dog toy, depending on the animal. If your pet is drawn to shiny tinsel (and who can blame him?), perhaps think about decorating with something else.

4. Don’t leave candles unattended: Cats especially find candles intriguing. (My sister’s cat once burned some whiskers off his face after sniffing a little too close!) When you’re entertaining, it’s hard to keep a close eye on everything happening around you. Place candles in safe areas or use flameless candles, which look just as beautiful without compromising safety. (This tip is also helpful if your friends bring a toddler to the party.)

5. Protect those paws in frosty weather: A walk around the neighborhood can so refreshing on a white Christmas day— if you’re bundled up, that is. And when the weather is downright miserable, Fido still has to use the potty area in a freezing, snowy yard. Either way, protect their little feet with Musher’s Secret or Pawz booties, and keep them cozy in a snow vest.

What are your top holiday pet safety tips?

{P.S. In case your holiday shopping isn’t done, check out these fun gift ideas for pets.}

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Kathleen Prasad

Kathleen Prasad is an entrepreneur, author, educator, spiritual seeker and animal advocate living in beautiful Marin County, California, with her husband, daughter, dog and two horses. She loves being with animals, listening to hip-hop, eating out at vegan restaurants, riding dressage, hiking in the redwoods and traveling the world to meet animal people.
You can learn more about Kathleen here.

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