Make sure the holidays are jolly for Fido and Fluffy

Posted Dec. 15, 2011, at 10:50 a.m.

Delicious food. Festive decorations. Jolly noshing. Merry noisemaking.

The holidays are full of happiness, family, friends, parties, and beautiful decorations. But your furry family members might be feeling a little overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to plan for pets while making your guest list.

1. Keep them safe. “Safety is No. 1,” said Bangor Humane Society Executive Director Suzann Bell. “If you have an active household, it’ll become more lively and active around the holidays. That’s why you need to make sure that the pets have a safe place to go to; their own quiet space with water, blankets to snuggle in, and toys to play with.”

For households putting up a Christmas Tree, keep curious kitties and playful pups safe by anchoring the tree with a sturdy tree stand. Anchor it further by running a wire from the tree to a curtain rod or wall mount.

2. Nosh wisely. Holiday parties bring out lots of delectable vittles, but keep pets safe by managing your household. Keep food out of “paws reach.” Gate off areas of the home where kitty paws or dog noses can sneak a snack. And remind your guests not to “treat” Fido or Fluffy while they celebrate with you. For parties that include alcohol, make sure to pick up drinks when pets are around. An intoxicated pet is dangerous.

Holiday delights can also cause upset stomachs with some pets. Be cautious about what they have and how they get it. Foods that are dangerous include: raisins, grapes, chocolate (especially dark and bakers chocolate), coffee, alcohol, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, onions, garlic, and avocados. For a more in-depth list, visit www.aspca.org and click on “Pet Care”.

3. Plant care. Some plants, including lilys, holly, and mistletoe, are poisonous. Opt for artificial plants or non-toxic alternatives. Visit the ASPCA’s website at www.aspca.org and click on “Pet Care” for more in-depth tips on keeping your pet safe.

4. Decorate wisely. Your pet will be excited this holiday season, and accidents may happen. Place candles in large containers or hang high to prevent tipping. Make sure all ornament hooks are accounted for. Dispose of batteries and plastic immediately. Avoid hanging tinsel from trees and hang delicate ornaments high on the tree or place on a shelf to display.

5. Keep the routine. The holidays are a busy time, and it’s easy to get out of the usual routine. However, your pet will thrive on a consistent routine. “This is a busy time, but pets need their time with the family,” Bell said. “Try to keep on a normal routine.”

Make this holiday season fun and festive for every member of the family.

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