I am a married Mom of 3: Boy (4 yo), Boy (2 yo) and Girl (11 mo old). I founded MomsOutLoud.com in 2008, which is now DFWMama.com. (Basically, I decided I liked Rachael and her team so well I wanted to join it!) Now I'm here, writing about what I know and love - raising kids in North Texas.

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How to Have a Pet-Safe Holiday

Cool ChihuahuasWhile all Moms are watchful and aware of keeping their children safe at the holidays, household pets may not be as carefully guarded.  Here are some helpful tips on keeping your pets safe, too.  After all, they are really our children, aren’t they?

Avoid Giving Your Pet These Foods:

*Alcoholic beverages – not that you would, but guests can leave mixed drinks around and pets can easily get into the forgotten cups and become sick.

*Chocolate – can be toxic.

*Coffee – can be harmful and cause hyperactivity.

*Salt – not good for animals, period.

*Even though some owners may allow their pet to eat table scraps, this can increase their risk intestinal problems like diarrhea. Know your pet well enough and evaluate what they can tolerate and what they cannot.  Some animals can eat nothing but cat and dog food, while others can eat scraps and never be affected.  Be especially careful about cooked chicken or turkey, because bones can splinter or get lodged in your pet’s throat.  Bones can also do damage by puncturing the intestinal tract.  Make sure all of your guests know the rules about table scraps before meal-time (and begging animals) comes around.

*Many plants that are traditionally displayed around the holiday are toxic to animals.  For instance, holly, mistletoe, poinsettas, lilies and Yew tree are poisonous to pets and should be kept well out of reach.  For a complete list, see the Humane Society of the United State’s website.

 

Hazards Around The Christmas Tree:

*If you have a real tree, it’s a good idea to sweep or vacuum as many of the fallen needles as you can. These needles can get stuck in your pet’s paws or, even worse, their throat. If you can’t clean up fallen needles regularly, please try to fence off your Christmas tree to keep your pet away.

*Don’t hang chocolates from the tree.  If your pet smells the chocolate and eats them, the results can be disastrous, because chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats.  The amount they can tolerate without major issue is dependent on their body size.  So, to be cautious, assume NO AMOUNT is tolerable and keep it away from your furry companions. 

*Please cover up all electrical cords. If your pet has a habit of chewing on cords, they could easily electrocute themselves.

*Cats especially can be attracted to swaying ornaments as they hang from the tree. If they bat an ornament down and breaks it, the glass shards can cause injury to their paws and to their mouth as they try to eat the pieces. Try using unbreakable ornaments closer to the ground so they can’t break anything and hurt themselves.  (This is a good strategy with toddlers and pre-schoolers around, as well.) 

*Try to avoid tinsel or ribbon.  If swallowed, they can cause damage to the animal’s gastrointestinal tract.  Many pets like to roll around on the ground and play with tinsel, but it could easily get wrapped around their neck and choke them, or depending on type, have the same result as ribbon if swallowed.

*Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored. As with a child, your pet could become seriously injured if your tree falls on top of  them.

*As with small children, remove wrapping, ribbons and bows (and other small objects) from the floor to avoid being chewed or swallowed.

 

Lastly, you all know your own pets.  Some (especially younger animals) are exceptionally curious, others are more sedentary and laid back (like my own 20-lb cat).  Keep an eye out for them this holiday season and they will reward you with lots of love in the coming months and years.

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