For many of us, our pets aren’t just pets—they are important members of our families.
We love them and we care for them; we make their happiness a priority. While the holidays should be no different, there are particular safety concerns when we mix our precious pets with holiday festivities.
Here are a few special safety tips to remember:
>> Our animals should never be left unattended for days without any care. I don’t care what foolproof automatic feeding bowl we’re using; it’s unkind and downright dangerous to leave animals alone for so many days. We should rely on pet sitters (or other care options) to make sure that our pets are cared for in our absence.
>> When traveling with pets, make sure ID tags are updated and any chips have the current contact information in case the pet gets lost.
>> Let guests know to not to leave doors open when visiting, so pets do not escape into an unfamiliar area.
>> Leash dogs. Many places have a leash law for the safety of our pets and of others.
>> Avoid feeding holiday table scraps and ask others to respect this as well. Some foods are dangerous for animals. It can upset their digestion, and sometimes it can even be poisonous. Instead, we need to make sure to bring along the appropriate food for our pets.
>> Make sure that discarded plates, trash, and other food items are safely disposed of; animals should avoid eating anything hazardous or potentially choking on bones.
>> Watch children around pets. Don’t allow them to ride the pet, pull tails, or in any way harm the animal; and ensure that pets aren’t unsupervised around children. Just because a dog or a cat has always behaved well in the past doesn’t mean that they will always—with all children; providing basic supervision helps protect child guests from coming to harm.
>> When guests visit, we should monitor the stress level of our pets and remove them if something is causing them anxiety such as noise. Setting aside a particular room for our pets can be a good idea in this case.
>> When traveling, we can secure our pets in carriers or with seat belts to protect them in the event of an accident. Have emergency vet contact information when traveling with pets.
>> While the family goldfish may not pose a risk, on the contrary, dogs and cats (and other pets) can be harmed if we’re not careful enough. It may seem easy to pass a piece of holiday ham or turkey to the waiting pet, but it is not in their best interest. Clearly setting out expectations with guests will help protect both pets and guests from harm.
Our pets are beloved family members. Including them in holiday celebrations is crucial. As their caretakers, we have the sacred duty of protecting them like any other family member. With just a little forethought, we can all enjoy a wonderful holiday season!
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Public Domain
Editor: Angel Lebailly
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis