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Posted on 12-22-2015

This time of year, we tend to spend too much time reminding pet owners of all the dangers that lurk in our festive holiday spreads. Today, I will touch on those dangers but would like to focus on making the season more enjoyable for you are your pet.

First, the doom and gloom. Of course, several commonly enjoyed foods are toxic to pets (such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic) along with some plants commonly kept around the house during Christmas (poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe). High fat foods, such as ham, can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis. Ornament hooks, tinsel, ribbon, and small Christmas tree decorations can be choking hazards. Brightly colored strings of lights can electrocute pets if they chew on them.

But there is a lot of fun to be had, if you follow a few basic tips.

  • Make sure gifts to your pets are safe and appropriate. Avoid bones, antlers, and cow hooves as these can damage teeth. Make sure toys do not have small parts that can be chewed off and swallowed.

  • Make sure visiting guests know you have pets, in case of allergies.

  • Even pets that normally don’t mind children can become overwhelmed when there are several unfamiliar children. Also, children are not usually adept at reading a pet’s body language and don’t realize when a pet would rather be left alone. For these reasons, everyone should know not to force interaction and let the pet take the first step in socializing. It is important for your dog or cat to have a safe, quiet space away from visitors equipped with food, water, and a comfortable resting place.

  • Try to keep your pets’ schedules as consistent as possible. This means feeding and walking them as close to the same time as you can. Actually, a little bit of extra exercise can relieve stress and tire pets out allowing them to more easily relax.

So the bottom line is, you should relax, enjoy family and friends, and spoil your pet!

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