‘Tis the season for family and friends to gather and celebrate the holidays. And this includes our pets. But pets don’t have holiday traditions ingrained into them the way we humans do. And this can lead to some unpleasant and potentially dangerous incidents.
In addition to our dogs, we also had a rabbit, Mousse. Mousse had never been around other rabbits and didn’t know that he was one, so he became our fake cat.
Having an identity crises, but instinctively knowing how to burrow, Mousse would bury under the presents. Then he discovered the Christmas tree lights. We quickly removed Mousse before the first bite, and before lights out.
Our holiday pet peeves didn’t end with Mousse.
Aubrey, our Labrador got to be 16 years old and senile. He was beautifully housebroken. But seeing a tree inside was too confusing. So he lifted his leg and we had to re-wrap all of the presents on Christmas morning.
Our neighbor’s Golden, Brandy, discovered a box of Christmas chocolates under their tree. Now chocolates are very dangerous for dogs to eat. Thanks to a Christmas miracle, Brandy survived.
Our Penelope loves soft toys and would steal soft ornaments. She didn’t try to eat them, but rather “sell” them back to us for liver snaps. (See The Ornament Thief on Mutts.) So we put up a fence. She cried. So Santa put the liver snaps into her stocking.
Now here are a few tips to keep your pets and decorations and safe this season:
. Put your Christmas tree in a corner so your dog doesn’t think it’s tons of toys or your cat a tree house. Corners give it 50% less space — and 50% less chance of being knocked over.
. If a corner isn’t possible, put a fence around the tree. It worked for Penelope, saving our ornaments and money on liver snaps.
. Pets can find shiny ornaments, tinsel, and garlands irresistible. But ornaments can break. Hooks can be hazardous. And garlands and tinsel can block the intestines, if swallowed.
. If you have fur babies who think plastic is fantastic, don’t put lights on the lower branches. Otherwise the result could be shocking.
. With the holidays come eating. But the furry crowd doesn’t watch what it eats. Plants like poinsettias and mistletoe are poisonous. And if you have a live tree, pine needles, if eaten, can cause stomach upset and puncture your pet’s intestines.
. Urination on trees is fine outdoors. But indoors? As we learned from Aubrey, you don’t want to go there.
With a little bit of precaution you can enjoy this season and its trimmings. And insure that your pets’ howl-a-days are happy and healthy as well.