Keep Your Pets Healthy and Happy During the Holidays

| 3 min read

Keep pets healthy this season
Your focus may be on family and friends this time of year, but be sure to spend some time ensuring that the animals in your life are safe and sound as well. The holidays bring lots of changes in routine and environment, which means your furry friends can get anxious, injured or ill. Here’s how to handle the three most vulnerable areas:
Problem #1: Tempting Tree
•A curious pet can lead to a toppled Christmas tree, so be certain it’s well anchored—especially if you have a cat that climbs or an extra-curious pup. Make it easier for them to avoid temptation by passing on edible ornaments like candy canes and securing a skirt over the stand to deter thirsty pets from snooping around the base.
•Think about skipping the tinsel this year, which is especially alluring for cats. The silver strands can be a choking hazard for your pets and can even cut their digestive tracts or get stuck in their intestines.
•While decorating, keep your tree’s bottom branches bare. A wagging tail or a playful paw can knock down the low-hanging ornaments, which can shatter and lead to injury.
Problem #2: Dangerous Décor
•When stringing up lights, keep wires and extension cords out of your pet’s reach. Mistaking them for chew toys could lead to a bad shock. If gnawing is a problem, consider purchasing pet-proof cord wraps or wiping down the cords (when they are unplugged, of course!) with an anti-chew solution, such as Bitter Apple.
•Poinsettias can give a room flare, but they can be a real pain for your pets and cause indigestion. Skip the mistletoe and holly entirely because the troublesome plants and their berries can be toxic for cats and dogs.
Problem #3: Party Pitfalls
•The smell of your holiday spread may drive your pets wild, but sharing your meal with them can make them sick (click here for a list of foods pets should avoid). If you want to give your furry friends a holiday treat, dinnertime with the family may be the perfect time to unveil a new toy or bone to keep them entertained.
•Between prepping the house and the menu, you’ll have a lot on your plate, but try to give your pets a long walk before guests arrive. This will give them a healthy dose of fresh air and tire them out, making them less excitable.
•Also, make sure that your pets have access to a quiet place when the house is bustling, as the unfamiliar activity can cause them distress. Keep their beds or crates accessible, and if Fluffy prefers to hide underneath your bed when the house is full, be sure to leave your bedroom door open.
Photo credit: Paul Nelson

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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