Here are eight pet safety tips to keep everyone safe on Christmas Day:
- Leaving out Christmas cookies for Santa is something St. Nick’s waistline sure doesn’t need, and your pets certainly don’t either. Chocolate, of course, is dangerous to pets. Even sugar-free cookies can be a problem for pets if they’re made with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which is considered toxic.
- Gifts out that are wrapped with ribbon, or that tinsel hanging from a tree can be too darn temping – particularly for puppies and kittens. The result might mean your veterinarian will be conducting emergency surgery to remove tinsel or ribbon swallowed by your pet on Christmas Day.
- Birds have such sensitive respiratory systems that aromatic candles can be lethal. It’s always a good idea to keep pet parrots away from the kitchen when you’re cooking; the bouquet of burnt food, particularly when prepared on nonstick surfaces, such as Teflon, can be very dangerous.
- When pets swallow pieces of poultry bones, veterinarians are often needed for emergency life-saving surgery. When pets eat skin off ham, turkey or chicken – or if they simply eat too much – pancreatitis becomes a possibility, with a possible trip on Christmas Day to the emergency veterinary clinic.
- With all that company coming and going, some pets might sneak outside either because there are scared or yearn to explore. No matter what the reason – you don’t want to spend Christmas Day searching for wandering pets. If your pet is a known escape artist, it’s a good idea to seclude your furry friend in a basement or office.
- With all that company visiting, and the doorbell constantly ringing, some pets do get totally stressed out. A pheromone diffuser (Feliwayfor cats, Adaptil for dogs) can cut the tension, as can soothing classical music. For many cats, catnip sends them to another planet – at least they think so.
- Play is a great stress-buster. For cats, even a 10-minute session of interactive play before the guests arrive is a good idea. A brisk walk or tossing the tennis ball might release canine energy before the throng arrives. Catnip can be a feline stress buster.
- For their own safety small pets (rabbits, Guinea pigs, gerbils, ferrets, etc.) should be off limits to children, unless there’s adult supervision. In fact, anytime kids under 12 or 13 are interacting with pets, an adult should be observing.