Saturday, November 3, 2012

Holiday Stress & Pets

 The Holidays are just around the corner.  The hustle and bustle of the season of shopping, wrapping, visiting, and eating will begin.  I thought this might be a good time to remind you to consider your pets during your holiday planning. 

The big one is….no matter just how cute that puppy (or kitten, or birdie, or bunny, etc…) in the window is…the holiday season is NOT the time to bring a new pet into your family.  If you really want to get your loved one a pet, get them a gift certificate for the value of the pet.  Then your loved one will be able to pick out exactly what they want.  You could also put together an ‘adoption kit’ with items a new pet owner will need. 


One thing to consider is the number of pets in shelters and rescues looking for new homes.  Many shelters and rescues offer gift certificates.  You could also think about fostering a pet.  That way you can see the amount of time and attention they will need before actually adopting one yourself. 

You should also wait till all the activity settles down so that the pet can be introduced into the home in a calm, normal situation.  Your new pet is already going to be stressed about being introduced into a new home, imagine the added stress of all the holiday activities in your home.  Don’t deny it, you are also stressed out during that time of year.  Wait to bring home your new bundle of joy until after the holidays are over.


If you already have pets in your home, you will also need to consider their safety and stress level the holidays provide for them.  I can’t tell you how many times Merlin, my cat, knocked over my Christmas tree before I finally bolted it to a board.  I lived in an apartment and only had a 4’ tree, but he loved to climb up inside the branches, which made it even more top heavy and over it would go.  I also had to keep my precious and fragile ornaments off the tree or they wouldn’t last. 


When we got a larger tree, after Merlin passed away, my rescue dogs loved to walk under it.  All the lower branches were covered with dog fur.  I had to make sure not to hang any of my fragile or precious ornaments on the lower branches because of this.  So my recommendation is to anchor your tree in some manner.

If you have cats, Do Not Put Tinsel on your tree.  Cats will play with it and eat it.  If they eat the tinsel, it could cause a blockage in their intestines.  I’ve heard many a horror story of cats and tinsel, so please if you have a cat, don’t use tinsel on your tree.  Imagine this getting caught up in your cats intestines…(caution…if this does happen to your cat, do not pull the tinsel out.  It could get tangled in their intestines.  Take your cat to the vet to have it removed safely).

If you will be having guests staying at your home, please ask them not to leave any kind of medication laying open in their suitcase or anywhere your pets can get into it.  There are many emergency vet visits over the holidays with pets having eaten a guests medication.  Also make sure you show them where you keep your pet approved treats and advise them how often your pets are given treats.  I told you in my Halloween Blog to make sure and keep any candy out of your pets reach.  Supervise children while they are eating candy to make sure your pet does not help themselves.  Also please advise your guests not to feed your pets from the table.  You can make sure your pet gets an extra treat for the holidays, but please ask your guests to refrain. 


If you decorate your house with real mistletoe and Holly, please make sure they are in places where your pets cannot get to them.  These are poisonous to pets.  Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal problems.  Lilies and Poinsettias are also toxic to your pets.


Remember the movie, Christmas Vacation??  Remember the cat that ate the Christmas tree lights??  Enough Said…


You should also watch alcoholic beverages around your pets.  One of my dogs, Mirage, actually got drunk at a party we attended one summer.  We were all sitting outside and I was drinking a glass of wine.  I would set it down beside my chair while eating and visiting.  I kept thinking, darn, I’m drinking this fast.  Then I notice Mirage helping herself to my glass.  She quite literally could not walk straight.  We carried her up the stairs and she wobbled around stumbling.  She had to lean on the wall to walk down the hallway.  We were laughing because it was so funny…until she got very sick.  Poor baby was sick the whole next day.  She couldn’t stand the smell of wine after that though.  Our vet told us she could have had alcohol poisoning.  So be very careful with your pets and alcohol.

It might also be helpful to have a room where you can put your pets when things get a little too stressful for them.  Give them some quiet time throughout the holiday season. 

Here’s hoping you have a very safe and happy Holiday Season.

Be Well & Be Happy,






No comments:

Post a Comment