Christmas is a time to pause, count our blessings, and reach out to family, friends, our beloved companion animals, and those less fortunate.  IT IS A TIME OF LOVE, but it is also a time to avoid holiday hazards with pets:

  • Foods of the season may be dangerous even in small portions. Keep all bones out of reach…they can easily damage the digestive tract. Keep pets away from chocolate, alcoholic drinks, grapes, raisins, and onions (or dips and dressings that contain onions.) Garlic, fatty skin from the turkey, many spices and bones may do more than just sicken your pet. And never give your pet any yeast dough when you are baking. Coffee, coffee grounds, or coffee beans can also be harmful.
  • Many holiday plants, including lilies, holly, Christmas cactus, mistletoe, and poinsettias, are poisonous if eaten, and many florists now use cocoa mulch which is extremely toxic in potted plants
  • Secure all extension cords to prevent pets from chewing on them, and keep all candles out of reach of curious paws. Never leave lit candles unattended with pets around.
  • Make sure your tree is solidly secured, and keep tree preservatives inaccessible to pets—they are toxic. Keep the area under the tree free of pine needles which can puncture intestines if swallowed.
  • Select your decorations carefully.  If you have breakable glass bulbs and other decorations, place them out of reach of curious paws. One of the biggest hazards is tinsel which, if ingested, can cause serious problems which may require surgery. Avoid hanging edibles on your tree. Popcorn strings should be avoided because most dogs will eat both the popcorn and the string.
  • Provide a quiet, safe place for your pets to retreat if they feel stressed during your holiday festivities.
  • As you spend time with your family, friends, and furbaby, don’t be too busy to include something for a less fortunate dog…you can do this any time of year, but please do something to make the holiday more special for a lonely dog.. or two..or three!  Companion animals play important roles in the lives of the people who love them, but sometimes the elderly or ill have trouble providing essential pet care. Perhaps you could offer to assist—walk the dog, help with grooming or feeding, pick up supplies, or drive her to the veterinarian. Your local rescue group or shelter always appreciates volunteers. There are dozens of things you can do…contact your local organization to get specific suggestions as to how you can brighten a lonely dog’s life…and donations are always welcome…money, towels, food, blankets, or equipment…all shelters have wish lists.

Tis the day before Christmas and all through the house,

the puppies are squabbling over an old rubber mouse.

The stockings that hung in neat little rows boast obvious holes in all of the toes.

The tree purposely placed way up high leans badly and looks ready to die.

I catch them and hold them, “Be good,” I insist.

They lick me, then run off to see what they’ve missed.

As I watch them, the thought comes to me that they’re the spirit that Christmas should be!

Perhaps children and puppies can show us the way,

and teach us the joy that comes each new day!

Could they convince us of the message sent from above

That Christmas is kindness and compassion…