Festive decorations, tempting foods, and heaping piles of presents are just a few of the things that make the holiday season special. But while these Christmas staples are pleasing to humans, they can pose unique dangers to household pets. So as you go about decking the halls, trimming the tree, and whipping up tasty treats, keep the following pet safety tips in mind:
- When decorating your home with traditional Christmas plants such as mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly, keep them off the ground and well out of the way of pets. These plants and their leaves/berries are toxic to dogs and cats, and may cause mild to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems if eaten.
- Cover or hide any extra electrical cords used to power holiday lights, moving figures, and similar decor, especially if your pet is a chewer. Pets can receive electrical shocks or tongue lacerations if they break through the outer coating and expose the internal wires of electrical cords. (If you can’t keep cords out of reach, we carry the CritterCord Cord Protector at CozyWinters.com.)
- Beware of placing shiny ornaments or long strands of tinsel on the lower branches of your Christmas tree. These items can be very alluring to curious pets, but are a serious choking hazard.
- Do not leave burning candles unattended in any room. It’s all too easy for a dog or cat to burn its whiskers, tail, or paws while passing by or inadvertently knock over a candle and perhaps start a fire.
- Refrain from giving your pet holiday treats containing chocolate, certain nuts (including walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts), and raw eggs or nutmeg (think eggnog), all of which can cause a variety of health issues ranging from upset stomach to tremors, seizures, and abnormal behavior.
- Do not allow pets to play with gift wrapping accessories such as ribbons and bows since these items can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed.
- If traveling with your pet, make sure they are kept secure while in moving vehicles.
The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and loved ones, including pets. If you have dogs, cats, or other furry creatures in your home, take extra care to keep them safe amidst all of these seasonal hazards.
Don’t look now, but it’s that time of year again. The holidays are stressful enough in their own right, thanks to all the extra cooking, cleaning, shopping, and spending required to make it through the season. So when you add in a lengthy road trip complete with bad weather, traffic, and fidgety kids, it doesn’t take long for stress levels to skyrocket.
Fortunately, with some good planning and a few simple precautions, you can improve your chances of having an enjoyable travel experience. Start by checking out our key tips to stress-free holiday road trips:
- Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and maintained. Of particular importance for winter driving are tire tread wear, tire pressure, battery condition, and the level of engine oil, antifreeze, and other critical fluids.
- Put together an emergency car kit for your trunk that includes jumper cables, a portable shovel, hand-crank radio, flashlight, blankets, a backup cellphone and charger, and bottled water.
- When heading to an unfamiliar destination, map your route in advance (even if you have a navigation system in your car) to get a general idea of where you’re going. If you anticipate heavy traffic, consider planning alternate routes as well.
- Make sure pets are restrained or contained in a way that is safe for them as well as for the human passengers.
- Pack healthy snacks and drinks to avoid unnecessary stops and minimize hunger-induced crankiness in children and adults alike.
- Eliminate arguments about the vehicle being too hot or too cold by providing each passenger with their own heated car seat cushion or travel throw from CozyWinters. We offer a variety of plug-in and battery operated warming products, including items for pets traveling with you.
- For journeys taking longer than one day, limit driving time to a reasonable number of hours to reduce driver drowsiness and the potential for accidents. In addition, be sure to take at least one planned break every 2-3 hours to allow all passengers a chance to get fresh air and stretch their legs.
Holiday travel doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking event that spikes your blood pressure to unprecedented levels and pushes your patience to the brink. Just follow the above tips so you can emerge from your upcoming family road trip with your sanity intact.