Keeping Our Pets Safe During the Holidays

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December 10, 2009

Keeping Our Pets Safe During the Holidays

Late fall often signals a flurry of questions from clients about keeping their pets calm in the midst of all the holiday happenings. Those of us in the United States will soon be celebrating Thanksgiving, and the celebrating continues on through early January. That’s almost two months of parties, house guests, marathon shopping, extra food in the house, the delivery drivers ringing the door bell, and then fireworks on New Year’s Eve to top it off.  That’s a lot of possible stress for our pets. Hey, who am I kidding? It’s a lot of stress for humans, too! As enjoyable as the holidays are, they can lead to some mild (or more) anxiety, less sleep, less exercise, and chaos around the home. Our pets are right in the middle of it all.

Remember, our state of mind affects our pets. When we are worried about the in-laws week-long visit, or stressed that we haven’t found that perfect gift for Aunt Sally, our pets can take on – mirror – our anxiety. When our stress is intensified because we haven’t been to the gym for a week and a half, we might begin to see our companion animals exhibiting unusual behaviors.  A stressed-out human often equates to a stressed and mis-behaved pet. It is important, for your sake as well as your animals, to stick to your normal routines during this busy time.

Sure, easier said than done! But consider strategies and opportunities to keep your routine in place and to minimize anxiety as much as you can. Try to calm yourself before walking in the door to your home or stable. It’s a cycle – if you are calm when you greet your pets, then they do their favorite thing of keeping you calm and entertained all evening long. The calmer you are, then the calmer they are, then they calm you more…. and the cycle continues.

Consider the things in the next couple of months that will be out of the ordinary in your animal’s perspective. Will your home be a revolving door of visitors, a college student returning home, or relatives taking up residence for a few days? Or perhaps your family will be vacationing for a few days and your pets will be staying in a kennel or cared for by someone else. An animal communicator can help prepare your pets for these short-term changes.

And what about the food? All that glorious food! Both dogs and cats have intolerance to certain foods that humans take for granted – onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, and some nuts are just a few. While cooking for a party or a family gathering, be aware of tasty but possibly toxic morsels that drop on the kitchen floor. 

The rich and abundant food during the holidays is intensified with the potential side-effect of less time and attention to exercise. Remember that even during the most hectic of times, getting out with your animals – a nice trail ride with your horse or regular walks with the pooch – will benefit your animals AND you.

Finally, keep in mind that the holidays often bring in elements which can be harmful, even toxic, to your house pets. Christmas trees with lights strung on the low branches can be snagged by dogs and cats, resulting in the animal getting tangled or stuck, and a struggling pet may have the strength to pull the tree down on themselves. The water in the tree stand is far from fresh and clean, so try to keep the well of the tree-stand covered. Broken ornaments, tinsel  and  holiday ribbon could be deadly for pets if swallowed. Extra candles, possibly scented with essential oils, can have an adverse effect on cats. And remember seasonal plants like poinsettias, azaleas, and holly are beautiful and festive, but also pose serious danger to animals if ingested.

Whether you are traveling or staying at home, enjoy the holidays and help your pets fully enjoy this time as well.

I look forward to working with your beloved animals for a variety of relevant topics. Schedule your animal communication consultation now for a deeper understanding of behaviors, symptoms, and quality of life.

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