Many of the dangers around the holidays affect both kids and pets. They are both quite excitable and everything seems to end up in their mouths! So keeping an eye on our decorations is important. Remember there are many choking hazards around decorations. AT holiday parties we often leave out nut and candy dishes, but these can be a choking hazard for young children and pets (not to mention they can cause upset stomachs). Keep these treats on a higher table; out of reach of children and pets.
Safety around the tree is very important. Both kids and pets are attracted to the lights and shiny ornaments. Tinsel is coming back as a vintage decoration. It is very dangerous when ingested by pets. Artificial snow and flocking contain chemicals that are toxic. Pine needles can cause stomach problems. Pets love to chew on cords, which can cause mouth burns. Keep all light and decorative cords out of reach and use pet or kid fencing around the tree. Of course, place breakable ornaments higher on the tree. Refrain from using edible ornaments. Hang lights deep in the trees to deter little fingers.
Other toxic items include decorative plants! Poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are all toxic to both kids and pets so be careful. In general, holiday food is a no-no for pets. Turkey, sausage, gravy, and other rich foods can cause digestive problems for pets. They cannot handle this rich food. If you want to give them a treat, boil some chicken. Grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic can also be toxic to pets. It’s best to keep them on their regular diet and limit treats. To some extent, this goes for children also. This isn’t a time to introduce new foods. As much as you can, keep them on their regular diets and again, limit treats.
Keep trash cleaned up for pet safety. Both wrapping and food trash is a problem. Ribbons, string, and bows are choking hazards to both kids and pets. Ribbon can cause a pets’ intestines to twist; a life- threatening condition. Food trash can make pets very ill. Always clean up all trash and remove from any pets or kids reach, especially when leaving the house.
When hosting a party, be mindful of your pets. While many pets are ok around small numbers of people, it may be a different story with a whole house full. Always have a safe haven where they can escape, whether it’s another room or a crate with their favorite chew toy and blanket. Watch them carefully, especially with people entering and leaving, as it’s easier for them to get out. Speaking of getting out, make sure your pet is microchipped. If the worst happens and they run away; it’s much more likely you’ll get them back.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO