Figuring out ways to take care of pets can easily turn into a hassle. Between the decorations, impromptu trips, and guests coming in and out, having a pet running around isn’t exactly the ideal situation. Whether you are staying home or going on a mini vacation, there are several safety tips to keep in mind regardless of your agenda. Go into the holidays feeling confident that your pet(s) are being taken care of the proper way.
If you are staying home:
Don’t throw your dog a bone.
It’s no secret that the food you put on the table during the holidays is extra fatty (and extra delicious, but that’s beside the point). Giving your pet scraps of food after the meal could mean a bad case of pancreatitis or other digestive problems, which could result in an unplanned trip to the vet right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. Your pet doesn’t know the difference between good and bad food, so it is up to you and your guests to make that call. If you have to question it, it’s probably not a good idea.
Keep holiday plants out of reach.
Poinsettias, holly, and amaryllis are all holiday plant staples for making the house seasonally festive, but be sure to keep them out of reach from your furry friends. The last thing you want is your pet suffering from gastrointestinal problems. The easiest precaution to take is placing these plants on higher surfaces, where they won’t be easily knocked over and nipped at.
Make your Christmas tree pet friendly.
You may want to wait until your four-legged friend is sound asleep the night before Christmas before leaving your presents unattended under the tree. Unplugging string lights when you’re not in the room, and putting the fragile ornaments higher up are other simple precautions you can take to make sure your tree is as pet friendly as possible.
Don’t leave lit candles around pets unattended.
Candles are a big part of the holiday season, but keeping them lit when your pets are in the room is not the brightest idea. Make sure to blow out all candles before leaving your house or going to bed to prevent fires and other hazards from occurring.
Be aware of noise levels.
Consider preparing a designated room for your pets with food, water, and toys, instead of letting them roam around your festivities. With people everywhere, loud noises going off, and music playing, your pets could easily start feeling anxious and scared. Putting them in their own room eliminates any problems that could arise from having them running around freely.
If you are going away:
Leave your dog at the kennel.
Boarding your pet is one of the more expensive options, but one to consider if you’re going away for a longer period of time and want peace of mind. Many kennels also offer group activity sessions, workouts, special treats, and grooming, making this a vacation for both you and your pet.
Hire a house sitter.
Having someone stay at your home requires trust on your end in whoever you’re asking, but if you think it’s the right choice, this can be the easiest option. Your friend or family member can water plants, pick up the mail, and generally keep an eye on things, just as you would. This option would also be best for high-maintenance pets. Just make sure to leave a list of everything that needs to be done, so whoever is looking after your pets and home knows exactly what needs tending to. You don’t want any emergency calls while you are trying to enjoy time away.
Give your pet to a fellow pet-owner.
Know a cousin or friendly neighbor with pets of their own? You may want to look into asking them for a favor and having your pet stay with them. Of course, this may mean they ask the same of you down the road, but if you love pets, this is a great option. Your pets will make a fellow four-legged friend and you can leave knowing they’re in good hands.
Having pets during the holiday season can be stressful if you don’t know all of your options. But with these suggestions, both you and your pets are sure to end the year on a high note.
Download this printable pet safety sheet (complete with all the information your pet sitter needs) before you go away this season!
For more on pet tips and safety, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/pets