Taking a few minutes to “pet proof” your decor can save precious time and energy cleaning up a pet’s party foul or taking an emergency trip to the vet. Here’s a quick holiday safety checklist to give you maximum pet safety without skimping on the classic decorations you crave.
  1. Is the mistletoe out of paw’s reach? If you’re one who can’t resist the Old World allure of a genuine European holly wreath with a hardy garnish of mistletoe, make sure those bitter berries stay well out of reach for your pets. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, and even run-of-the-mill Christmas tree needles can cause some serious trouble for your pet if ingested.
  2. Is the tree fortified? Between the tinsel, glass bulbs, candy canes, electric lights, and motorized polar express trains, the Christmas tree can be quite an unforgiving plaything for cats and dogs. Recommended solutions for this yearly impasse range from a modest tree downsizing to rather more creative interventions like bitter apple spray or, even, this tree girdle thing, but for those who want a more sustainable solution other options are available.
  3. Is the wiring orderly and contained? From the menorah to the advent wreath, candles have long figured into our holiday traditions--but that doesn’t stop anybody from breaking out the power strips. After your holiday displays are up and running, make sure exposed wires are taped, loose cords bound, and outlets in good order. That’s no ball of yarn, after all. You may also consider a timer for indoor lights--that way you’ll avoid too much plugging and unplugging.
  4. Is the dessert accounted for? As if to avoid the whole nasty business of chocolate and its poisonous compound theobromine, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University shares a fantastic pointer for pet owners: “If you want to get festive, mix some of your pet's regular food with water to make a ‘dough’ and roll out and cut into festive shapes, then bake until crunchy.” Diversion - still the best parenting trick in the book.
Whether it’s a case of kitty tree-phoria or the sudden onset doggy dessert-drive, the holidays can present some tantalyzing risks for your pet. A few minor precautions around the holidays can go a long way toward securing that silent night you and the family have been planning all season.

Tags: cats, Christmas, holiday, indoor, tree

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