Keep Pets Safe When You Deck the Halls!

Whatever you celebrate this season – Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa – chances are your home is transformed with decorations. The lights, the ornaments, the garland – just know that all those shiny and new decorations look like toys to your pet. You don’t need to hold back on the festive trimmings, but pet safety is something to consider during the holidays. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe while you deck the halls.

  • Protecting Sparky from Sparks. Keep wires and cords out of paws reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.
  • O Christmas tree. Your cat will think Christmas came early as soon as your Christmas tree is up, so how do you keep them off the impossible-to-resist tree of their dreams? Consider an artificial tree, as cats tend to find them less appealing. Choose a corner location or put the tree in a room your cat rarely visits. Be sure to get a sturdy tree stand and anchor the tree securely so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing injury to your cat. Also, consider getting kitty an early Christmas gift – a new cat condo or scratcher so she will be less tempted.
  • I love my new water bowl. Do not add any chemicals, aspirin or sugar to the water for your tree, which may poison or cause upset stomachs in your pet. Also, keep the water fresh to avoid stagnation and the release of bacteria.
  • All that glitters. Pets love tinsel and shiny, light-catching decorations. They might also decide that they look delicious. Don’t spend Christmas Eve in your vet’s emergency room. Keep a close eye on Fido and make sure he has plenty of new and interesting chew toys. Avoid glass ornaments, and keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from salt-dough or other food-based materials, out of pets’ reach.
  • Like paws to a flame. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; consider using flameless candles instead. Pets can easily burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Use appropriate candle holders place on a stable surface.
  • Plant danger. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, balsam, pine and cedar are all holiday staples, but they can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by your pet. Also, many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Consider using boughs of just-as-jolly artificial plants.

The bottom line – be aware of all the new, tempting decorations in your house and keep a sharp eye on your fur babies, and everyone if your house can enjoy a safe, festive holiday!

Keeping the Holidays Safe for Your Pets

Don’t spoil the fun of the holidays with a sick or injured pet–keeping a few tips in mind will make the season bright for all!

The holidays can be a stressful and even dangerous time for our pets. The routines are upset, visitors abound, and tempting smells are coming from the kitchen! Keeping pets safe is sometimes tricky at this time of year, so here are a few tips and tricks to help everyone enjoy the holidays fearlessly!

The Christmas tree is the first item of great interest on your pet’s Santa list. Many cats find it irresistibly tempting to climb. So, make sure your tree is in a sturdy, tip-resistant stand. (A classic Christmas card shows a cat and two women gazing at a decorated tree that’s tightly guy-wired to the walls and ceiling; one woman says to the other, “No chance of the cat knocking over the tree this year!”)

Most tree stands have a water container—this is another hazard. Aromatic compounds from the tree itself and the chemicals often added to the water are highly toxic to pets; make sure the container is wrapped and taped or otherwise made inaccessible to your feline and canine friends, who will often try to drink from this novel water source.

Christmas lights and wires on the tree and around the home are an invitation to chew for both cats and dogs. For wires that are easily accessible to curious teeth (especially young animals), run them through inexpensive foam pipe insulators that you can find at any home improvement or hardware store.

Metal tinsel is rare these days, but mylar tinsel and garlands can also pose a swallowing hazard. They can cause serious damage to a pet’s intestines. Consider a beaded garland instead. Also, when unwrapping presents, make sure all ribbon and string is safely disposed.

Keep glass ornaments to a minimum if you must use them at all, and place them higher on the tree, with unbreakable ornaments lower down. A broken glass ornament is a minefield for tender paws. If a pet eats all or part of a glass ornament, immediately feed cotton balls or bread soaked in milk or cream; the soft mushy texture will gather up all the sharp pieces and safely “escort” and expel them.

Parties and visitors increase the risk of a cat slipping out through an open door; make sure all your pets are microchipped and wearing collars and ID tags.

You may want to provide a “base camp” for your pet that includes food, water, bed—and for cats, a scratching post, and litter box—in a room that’s less likely to be disturbed. A spritz or two of a pet pheromone spray (Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe) or flower essences (Only Natural Pet Just Relax Flower Essences, or Spirit Essences Holiday Stress Stopper) will keep the atmosphere calm. But no decorations in that room, please, especially lit candles! (Of course, unattended burning candles are a serious hazard at any time of year!)

Take it easy on the treats. Too many fatty treats like turkey skin or ham can cause serious tummy upset; in dogs, these can trigger life-threatening pancreatitis. Ask dinner guests to refrain from feeding “under the table”—or even better, keep pets safely confined during the festivities. Chocolate, of course, is toxic to both dogs and cats.

For extra comfort, consider adding essences, herbs (like Animals’ Apawthecary Tranquility Blend, or Only Natural Pet Chinese Herbal Blends Calm), or homeopathics (Newton Homeopathics Nervousness & Fear) to meals during the most hectic times.

A little extra care and attention will make this holiday season a safe and happy one for the whole family!

Green Holiday Tips

Buy Earth-Friendly Pet Gifts:  Our country is great in so many ways, one of which is the fact that we can “vote with our wallet” every time we shop! By choosing earth-friendly pet products that are made from recycled or recyclable materials, minimally packaged, sustainably harvested and produced, you are letting pet product manufacturers know that our planet matters to you. We carry many earth-friendly cat items, including beds, toys, and organic and natural food and treats, all of which support a healthy planet.

Avoid Air Fresheners and Scented Candles:  Many people buy air freshener sprays, plug-ins or scented candles to help mask odors when holiday guests arrive or just to give their home a “holiday” aroma. The truth is that most of these products are toxic to people and cats, and contain many chemicals (like pthalates and formaldehyde) that are linked to asthma, respiratory problems, and worse. If you want to give your home a natural holiday scent, try a drop of mint or cinnamon essential oil on a light bulb, or put a small pot with cloves, cinnamon sticks, or other herbs to simmer on your stove.

Skip the Gift Wrap for Pets:  Tons of gift wrap ends up in landfills each holiday season, and most likely, your cat won’t care whether the gift is wrapped or not. If you feel you must conceal gifts for your cats, put them into a reusable gift bag or recyclable paper bag and let your cat explore the gift bag when you present it. If you are celebrating Christmas, a re-usable eco-friendly stocking for your cat serves this purpose well.

Give D-I-Y Gifts:  If you’re a crafty type, how about making some toys for your cat? Small toys can be made quite easily with a sewing machine or needle and thread, fabric scraps and some natural catnip. Most cat lovers have discovered that playful kitties are easily amused with very simple toys, so even if you aren’t skilled with crafts, you can make some very satisfactory toys with yarn, twine, and fabric scraps.

Don’t Give Pets as Gifts:  For many reasons, we strongly urge that no one give a pet as a holiday gift to a friend, roommate, or dating partner. Pet guardianship is a serious responsibility and people must decide for themselves if and when they are ready to bring an animal into their lives for a 10+ year commitment to the care and expense of a pet. The cute kitten you give to a new boyfriend or girlfriend may end up in a shelter if the relationship doesn’t work out, adding to the serious burden that unwanted pets place on shelters and on our planet’s resources.

Buy from Green Businesses:  Much in the same way that buying earth-friendly pet products can give you a voice in the pet product industry, so can making the choice to buy from green businesses. When you choose to buy from companies that adhere to green business practices like recycling, using eco-friendly packaging, and choosing wind-power and other carbon footprint offsets, you increase the chances that more businesses will adopt these practices. You can feel confident buying pet items from Only Natural Pet Store. We are 100% wind powered and a Zero Waste Program participating retailer.

Adopt from a Shelter:  If you are bringing a pet into your own home this holiday season, adopting is the best way to go. Everyone (and our planet) benefits when a stray or unwanted pet finds a home, and with so many breed rescue groups around, there’s no reason you can’t find the pet of your dreams. Give a dog or cat a second chance and help reduce the number of unwanted pets in our world. Adopting a pet from a shelter also does not support the kitten & puppy mill industries, a cause we can all get behind!

Give Your Cat an “Intangible” Gift:  Extra playtime for active cats, or some quality lap time with snuggly felines. These are the types of intangible gifts that your cat might not be able to appreciate the same way they would a treat or other gift, but like other “service” gifts for people, they can improve the quality of life of the recipient, and who deserves this more than your beloved kitties?

Happy Green Holidays from your friends at Only Natural Pet Store!