– by Tania Sigurdson, PVHS Education Chair

It is that time again – the holiday season.  With it comes one of my favourite activities – decorating for Christmas!  And our family, we go all out!  Respectfully, we wait until December 1 to get going but once December has arrived, the month is filled with layers of decorations and treats added throughout the month.  However, as with everything as pet owners, we need to be sure that we are pet-safe as we alter our homes.  As such, I have compiled some things to think about when celebrating the holiday season this year.

  • Try to decorate your tree out of reach of curious paws.  Leave the lower part of your tree free of ornaments.
  • Make sure your tree is very secure – cats can climb up high and accidentally bring the whole tree down potentially being harmed in the fall and definitely making a mess in the process.
  • If you have a real tree and are watering it, avoid adding any chemicals to make the tree last longer.  These chemicals can be toxic to animals.
  • Be careful with candles as pets can flick or wag their tails over them or knock them over all together.
  • Use non-breakable ornaments – our cats love to bat the ornaments out of the tree.  Making sure they do not break when they fall will keep everyone safer.
  • Avoid using tinsel/angel hair decorations – when eaten by cats/puppies this can cause intestinal problems.
  • Keep cords inaccessible to chewing puppies – make sure your lights do not electrocute your animals if they chew through the cables.
  • Chocolate is a NO NO – chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to both cats and dogs.  Be careful not to leave chocolates out or even a box wrapped and put under the tree might be chewed through by morning.  Be careful also about your advent calendars – if there is chocolate in those make sure they are stored out of reach of curious pets.
  • Mistletoe and holly are both poisonous to animals – stick with the artificial version of these holiday plants.
  • Fire starter logs contain sawdust and paraffin which can cause irritated stomach or intestinal blockage when ingested.  Make sure you keep these away from chewing pets.
  • Holiday parties can add additional stress to animals – all the guests and noises and chatter.  See if someone can take your pets for the evening if you are hosting or find a quiet place for your pets to hide away from the noise and action.
  • In addition, most importantly, take time to give your pets some extra cuddles and love over the holidays.

From my furry family to yours, I wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best in 2023.

Last modified: October 7, 2023