The ONLY national non-profit organization for professional pet sitters.

Holiday Proofing

While decking the halls this holiday, take the time to look around the home for any hazards that pets can get into. Everyone loves those videos of cats vs Christmas trees, but trees are the not the only Christmas decorations to worry about. There are many objects in a house during the holidays that can cause a high vet bill if a pet decides to get into mischief.

The Christmas tree can become a playground for pets, and not in a good way. Dogs might want to play tug with the branches and cats may want to climb, in the process breaking ornaments. A wagging tail will do that, too. If the ornament breaks, all pieces need to be picked up so that a pet doesn't get a piece of it stuck between their pads. The water of a tree needs to be changed often because it may contain hazardous chemicals that can make a pet sick. There are various breeds of bacteria that will stay in stagnant tree water, and if a pet drinks it, it can send them to the emergency vet for severe diarrhea or nausea. If it's a small tree, put it on a counter or table top away from pets.

 Even though tinsel on the tree looks pretty, it is another safety hazard for a pet, especially cats. Because of its sparkly appeal pets may often try to play with it and carry it in their mouths. If this happens, a pet can choke, get dehydrated or possibly even have to have surgery. Instead, pet parents can try wide ribbon garlands that are harder to pull off a tree. Mistletoe and holly are two other common household decorations in homes during the holiday season, but cardiovascular problems can arise if a pet digests them.

Extra wires laying around the house are a danger, too. If a pet bites into a wire, it can send a lethal dose of electric shock to a pets system. Try some heavy duty plastic liners to keep the chances of electric shock at a minimum. A bad battery can cause a burned esophagus or mouth, and fake snow can cause the same stomach issues. Have a fireplace? Pets need to be kept away for their own safety. Singed whiskers and burnt paws can happen around a fireplace if a pet is wandering around the area unsupervised. Candles are an alternative, but can still be a hazard for pets, which is why electric candles are the best option. If nothing will work to keep up a festive spirit except the real thing, ensure pets are away, candles are out of reach and the fireplace screen is secured against the fireplace.

By keeping taking these precautions in mind, pet parents can make sure that their pets are safe and the best thing of all, they stay together to celebrate the holidays.