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December 1, 2015

The holiday season represents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. While bright lights, decorations, seasonal treats and parties can be fun for people of all ages, these same things can be stressful—and at times dangerous—for pets.

Here are some tips you can share with customers to help make their holidays safer and easier for the pets in their lives.

Too Much Change

Pets thrive with an established routine. The holiday season wreaks havoc on that routine in most households. Pet retailers should caution owners about some things that should stay the same.

Moving the litter box to a new location so that it is not visible to guests can cause some cats to stop using it. Inform your cat-owning customers that they shouldn’t move the box.

During this time of year some owners are so distracted by guests coming and going that they don’t maintain an established potty schedule with their puppy. Potty training requires consistency. This becomes much harder to accomplish when owners are distracted. Remind owners to keep a consistent housetraining schedule during the holidays.

When teaching a puppy not to chew on inappropriate items, such as furniture clothing or kids toys, it is critical to fixate the dog on the correct chew toys while controlling access to the home environment. The challenge during the holidays is the many tempting items that are frequently left lying about: tinsel on trees, gifts on the floor, wiring on hundreds of blinking lights and delectable human snacks.

To curtail inappropriate chewing, puppies need to have their access limited. Electrical wires should be sprayed regularly with a chew repellent such as Bitter Apple. Access to wrapped gifts should be blocked off and Christmas trees need to have their bases covered so the dog or cat can’t drink the water.

Holiday Dangers

Dangerous items need to be kept well out of pets’ way or, better yet, not used or displayed at all. Mistletoe, chocolates, alcohol, grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and cats. Poinsetttias are dangerous too.

Many cats find tinsel intriguing and could attempt to eat it. Chicken or turkey bones can be dangerous to dogs and cats who often consume them entirely, ending up with bone splinters in their throat or digestive tract.

With an understanding of some of the dangers, coupled with some preventative measures and suggestions from you on how owners can deal with the trials and tribulations of pets and the holiday season, pet retailers can sell relevant products and assist customers in a fashion that creates a win-win for all concerned.

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