8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe and Sane this Holiday Season

by Valerie Lee Veltre

Keep your pets healthy and happy this holiday

Ah, the holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year (at least according to Andy Williams), but it's also a very hectic time of year where you may be feeling slightly stressed. All the hubbub in the house may be stressing your pets too. They don’t care what a holiday it is or that you need to bake 300 cookies for the school pageant, all they want is their peace and quiet back.

Since you can’t very well cancel the festivities because Muffin isn’t happy, take a peek at 8 tips for keeping your pet safe and sane this holiday season.

1. Pet Couture—If You Must

Who hasn’t received at least one holiday card with a happy family (complete with Spot and Buster) all wearing matching sweaters? If you’re planning a holiday outfit for your four-legged family member, choose wisely. Since your pet doesn’t have a choice in the matter, at least pick something comfortable and safe. Don’t try to squeeze Buddy into an XS, when he’s been hitting the treat jar and is more like an XL. And while that sparkly elf costume with appliqué candy canes might be oh so adorable, those candy canes might not look so adorable on the X-ray attached to a $600 vet bill.

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2. Find a Pet Sitter and Make a List

Going away? Make arrangements far in advance for the care of your pets. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to figure out who is going to walk Hank the pup. It’s preferable to keep your animals at home where they'll be happiest and most comfortable.

Make sure to leave a detailed list, including: phone numbers, itinerary, vet information, feeding schedule, information on how to administer meds, and normal behavior to expect. Also, always leave extra bowls of food and water, just in case.

3. Create a “Safe Area”

If your holiday festivities are creating too much commotion for your pet, designate an area in your house for your pet to camp out, such as an extra bedroom. Put some favorite toys, bedding, food, water, and if necessary, a litter box in the vicinity.

4. Brief Your Guests

If there’s going to be a lot of people in and out, make it clear that the family pet is not allowed to dash out the door. No one wants to be crawling through the neighbors’ bushes at midnight looking for a lost pet.

5. Make Rules

You’re not a terrible person for telling cousin Julie that it’s not OK for her toddler to pull the cat’s tail. Speak up for the safety and security of your pets and your guests.

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6. Do Not Feed the Animals

Advise your guests not to feed the family pet (no matter how much Sparky begs). Everyone thinks it’s cute that the dog ate the candied yams...until he vomits all over the carpet during dessert.

7. Decorate Wisely

Place candles up high in safe locations so they can’t be knocked over by a wagging tail or curious cat. If you decorate with garland made of fresh greens, make sure the plants and shrubs used are non-toxic and remember, don’t use real mistletoe!

If you celebrate Christmas and decorate a real tree, do not put any additives in the tree water - cats and dogs love to drink the tree water. Make sure the Christmas tree is secure and can’t topple easily. Choose Christmas tree ornaments wisely as sometimes pets eat the decorations. Not only is tinsel-butt is not pretty, it’s dangerous.

8. Don’t Get Mad

Inevitably, there will be broken ornaments, thrown up yams, and shredded bows that took you an hour to create. Be patient with your pets, they just can’t help it.

With a little planning, you can make the holiday season less stressful for you and your pets. Happy holidays!

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Valerie Lee Veltre is the three-time national award-winning author of Moo Kitty Finds a Home. This Mom’s Choice award-winner delights children and adults with an upbeat and positive tale about the benefits of adopting adult pets. Brightly colored, charming illustrations captivate the reader as they follow Moo Kitty on his journey—the perfect book for story time. Check it out at www.MooKittyFindsAHome.com. Click http://mookittyfindsahome.com/fun.html to download a free, handy checklist and a coloring page for the kids. You can color and post on the refrigerator or on Moo Kitty’s Facebook site.

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