Whether you are hanging stockings, spinning dreidels, or lighting a kinara, we can agree this is one of the greatest times of the year. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to be vigilant about our precious ones; be they the bipedal or four-legged kind. Here are a few common sense reminders and tips for a safe 2020.
- Keep away from open flames. Keep your tree, garlands, and gifts at least 48 inches away from open flames. If you are using a natural tree or bush, keep it watered and moist.
- Miniatures. Keep an eye on the pieces of your Santa village, dreidels, ornaments, and similarly mouth-sized decor. With so many sweets and treats around, the sights and smells could confuse young children or pets who think everything looks like food. Also remember to do some recon when you visit the grandparents or friends’ homes. TIP: If it can fit through the center of a toilet paper roll, it’s small enough to be a choking hazard.
- Twinkle, Twinkle. Make sure string lights and extension cords are not dangling where they can be reached. Attach cords with clips rather than staples, which can cut through the cord and cause a short you won’t see until your tree goes up like a Griswold movie.
- Feasting. We already know chocolate is bad for our pets, but all types of rich and fatty foods can upset canine tummies. As well, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic are also extremely toxic to dogs. Get them some special pet treats so they still feel like it’s a party and you won’t be tempted to share your plate. TIP: If your child overindulges on sweets, try a safely-hot shower or bath for fifteen to twenty minutes; improves circulation and eases bloat.*
- Holly and the Ivy. Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are known to be potentially toxic to pets, but they are likely only dangerous in large quantities. But be sure to keep Kitty away from lilies. All parts of the plant, including the pollen, are toxic to cats and can lead to kidney failure. TIP: Some safer holiday flora include Christmas cactus, African violet, roses, Boston fern, and polka dot plant.
- O’Christmas Tree. Use tinsel sparingly to keep it out of pets’ digestive systems, and keep electrical cords well-bound or covered. A curious chewer may receive mouth burns, and can even alter their heart rhythm. It’s also a good idea to keep fur-babies from drinking the tree’s water supply, which may contain fertilizer compounds or become stagnant over time.
- Happy New Year. Give your pet a quiet space to retreat to with water, food, and a place to snuggle. Shy fur babies may want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from party crowds, poppers, or fireworks. Also, be sure to clean up popper papers and streamers than can get caught up in little tummies and cause upset.