Pet Safety Tips for the Holiday Season - Quicken Loans Zing BlogYour pets are a huge part of your family, so naturally you want to include them in your holidays and celebrations as much as possible. This post will give you tips on how to safely handle everything from food to gifts to decorations to help your four-legged friends celebrate the holiday season.

Gifts

For Dogs

According to CesarsWay.com, there are four key considerations when buying dog toys:

  • They like new toys better than old ones. They get bored like the rest of us.
  • Harder toys are less interesting to dogs. They are more interested in toys “that can be more easily manipulated.”
  • Dogs like to play with you. That’s why ropes and balls are great. Anything you can do together is good.

You can use your dog’s predatory instincts to your advantage. These kong toys are great for making your dog work for his food. If you make mealtime last longer, your dog won’t eat as fast and will be full instead of wanting more. This bobble toy and this food ball are similar concepts.

Most dogs chew on their toys until they are ripped to shreds. With that in mind, you might want to take a look at biodegradable or natural toys like this. They’re just like the normal toys with the added bonus of degrading in an environmentally safe way when you throw them out.

If you want more durable toys, try rubber balls. Just make sure they have a squeaker so the dog gets something out of the effort.

For Cats

For cats, catnip is perfectly safe and can provide you and your cat endless hours of entertainment. Just be careful as too much can make them anxious or sleepy. According to “Scientific American,” as many as 30% of cats do not carry the gene that makes them react to the effects of the herb. However, if your cats do, this is a perfectly safe way to let them “tune in, turn on and drop out.”

If your cats aren’t into catnip, you could try yarn or a laser pointer, which cats also go crazy for. Things they can climb are also good. Climbers may also keep them from climbing your Christmas tree … which leads perfectly into my next section.

Tree and Plant Safety

According to the ASPCA, traditional holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are toxic to both cats and dogs if ingested.

When it comes to the Christmas tree, there are certain things you want to take into consideration.

When you first get the tree, bring it inside and let it sit for a couple of days before decorating it. This will let your cat get used to the tree so the novelty wears off. In order to keep your cat off the tree, use double-sided tape or a product like Sticky Paws.

If you get a real tree, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind:

  • The pine needles are toxic. If the bark has been sprayed with flame retardant, you don’t want the cat getting on that either.
  • Place foil or something similar over the tree water so your pet doesn’t drink it.

Whether your tree is real or artificial, here are some pet-safe decorating tips:

  • Avoid tinsel as it is not good if your pet ingests it.
  • Bury electrical wires well out of reach within the tree.
  • Don’t put breakable ornaments near the bottom where they can be reached by curious paws.

You should also protect the things you put under the tree. If your dog or cat enjoys unwrapping things, you may want to keep the presents elsewhere until your celebration. This is both for the safety of the animal and the sake of any surprises.

Food

If your family is anything like mine, there’s always that one uncle who feeds the dog under the table. Although you might not encourage it most of the time, your pet will probably enjoy its Thanksgiving feast too.

If it’s going to happen, you might as well make sure it’s done safely. Here are 11 types of food that should not be fed to your pets, according to the ASPCA:

  • Chocolate, caffeine and coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Anything containing xylitol (a sweetener in candy, baked goods and toothpaste)
  • Too much salt
  • Onions, garlic and chives (the amount sometimes found in treats is OK)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Milk
  • Raw yeast dough (small amounts of bread already baked are fine)
  • Raw meat or eggs

Although it may seem like a good idea to give your dog a bone from the dinner table to go to town on, this can create an issue for your pet. The bone can break up and become lodged in or puncture their intestines. It’s better to stick to store-bought bones so your dog doesn’t suffer a fate similar to Henry Knox, the Revolutionary War general who died of infection three days after accidentally swallowing a chicken bone.

Do you have any tips for other pet owners to enjoy a safe holiday with their four-legged friends? Leave them in the comments section.

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