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December 16, 2016

Shockingly, it’s almost time for the holidays, and too many pet owners may walk in on a similar scene of what this photo shows. In addition to the wonderful holiday festivities, we need to consider the health and safety of our pets. Certified humane education specialist and award-winning author Diane Rose-Solomon has a quick list to pet proof a home for the holidays.

This year, Chanukah and Christmas fall on the same day. Here are some tips to create a save environment for everyone living in your home:

In the home…

  • Christmas trees and their decorations can be beautiful. Make sure the tree base is solid to avoid tipping over or being knocked over by a rambunctious dog or a cat exploring tree branches. Yes, it’s hard to stop them from climbing, but a sturdy base will eliminate tree crashes and potential fires.
  • Wiring on the lights should be done properly and the wires should be in good shape. Any electrical wiring should stay far away from a curious pup- especially if he’s a chewer. Ornaments should stay high up away from dogs and cats, for the decorations are way too appealing for a toy loving animals.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and check for safety from your pet’s eye level.
  • If you light candles, while the wicks are burning, make sure your dogs stay away and the candles aren’t left to burn unattended. Pets often to get up on the table to lick crumbs. With candles burning, it could be disastrous.
  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are all toxic to dogs. So is chocolate. Keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • Will your family be unwrapping gifts? Wrapping and gift-wrap decorations along with toys with small parts, or any toys that can be chewed or even that pair of socks from Aunt Gertrude, can all pose a potential danger to your pooch or kitty.

Holding a holiday celebration?

  • If your dog isn’t too friendly to strangers, consider placing him in his crate, and be sure to give him plenty of love and exercise prior to lockdown. Cats either hide or are fine with most guests, but can be food thieves. So no food can go out onto the table unattended if your cats are mixing with the party. It is a challenge!
  • When entertaining, Diane suggests you ask your dog walker if she can take the dogs out for a bit. It gets them out of the house, stimulated and it’s an alternative to the stress of having them here- at least for part of the time.
  • Will there be noisemakers or fireworks on New Year’s Eve? Dogs are rather sensitive to loud and sudden noises. Help reduce their stress and keep them from fleeing by using the crate.

Traveling over the holidays?

  • Traveling with or without your pup is a great option too. If you travel and Fido stays home, be sure to find a trusted pet sitter or doggie daycare to care for him while you are gone.
  • Bringing Fido along? Check airline regulations if you are flying and he is small enough to have in the cabin with you. If you are driving make sure he’s securely fastened in a crash tested car harness or car seat. Pack enough food, treats, leash, travel food bowls, a dog bed and his favorite toys for the adventure. And don’t forget poop bags. You will likely need them wherever you go!
  • Be sure the information on his tags and microchip are up to date with your cell phone number just in case he gets lost while you are traveling. Always know where the nearest emergency vet is located. The unexpected always happens at the worst time.

Once pet parents have the safety matters handled, their minds will be free to enjoy a fun and joyous holiday.

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