Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Including the Not So Obvious Ones

The Christmas and holiday season is upon us.  If you’re like many, there are time honored traditions visible in most corners of your home.  From the fresh cut Christmas tree to the twinkly lights to the masses of sweet confections.  It’s an exciting time for all of us.  Not unlike having a toddler in the house, extra precautions are needed.  The hazards of Christmas decorations for pets may not be immediately obvious.  With a little preparation and consideration this holiday season is sure to be festive.

Dangers of a Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree, decorated from head to toe, feels magical to some.  The smell of fresh pine and the twinkling of the lights can mesmerize and delight.  Until your pets get a hold of it, that is.  With an innate desire to chew on sticks and twigs, your pup may seek out the perfect branches for a snack.   While this may seem harmless, did you know that oils from a fir tree can be quite irritating to mouth tissue?  It can cause excessive drooling and even vomiting.  Even more hazardous are the needles of the tree if ingested.  If consumed in enough quantity they can  puncture the lining of the intestines.  Worse, the needles can create a blockage in your pet’s intestinal tract.  Both can have serious consequences.  We recommend keeping an eye on your pets while the tree is in your home.

If you live in an area like Arizona that doesn’t get a lot of snow, you may be tempted to bring a flocked tree home.  Flocking is a process that deposits small fibers onto branches to simulate the look of snow.  Beware that if Fido starts to nibble and ingests too much flocking, he could become quite ill.

There’s one more item to be conscious of with a fresh tree.  Many of them are treated with chemicals to extend their life span after being cut.  These chemicals can seep into the water supply in your tree stand.  When Fluffy gets thirsty and sneaks a sip from the tree (which looks like a big water bowl to her) she may be ingesting poison.

Sparkly Lights

No Christmas tree is complete without a bounty of beautiful lights.  Whether you’re an all-white-lights kind of person, or prefer blinking multi-colored lights, every tree comes alive with them.  Your pets couldn’t agree more.  For whatever reason, many pets are drawn to the cords of lights.  Whether they are on your tree, mantle, or around a door frame, pets are intrigued.  Did you know that electrocution from chewing on cords is the most common form or electrical injury for pets.  Electrocution, as it sounds, is quite painful.  It can cause burning and scaring of the mouth and surrounding tissue and hair.  Some animals even experience long-term complications from injuries sustained during cord chewing.  If you have a pet that likes to chew, we suggest keeping lights up and away from their reach.  Even if you think you can trust your pet, it is wise to periodically check cords for chew marks.  Or, an extreme alternative that we’ve seen is placing a cage around your tree.  This may dampen the Christmas mood a bit, however.

christmas decorations for pets

Christmas Decorations for Pets

Bringing out your favorite decorations from years gone by can be a tricky prospect with a tail wagging pup or a cat that can leap tall buildings in a single bound.  If you need to scale back this year because of a new family member, here are a few alternatives that are safe and mostly pet proof.

  • Paper decorations dyed with food coloring are inexpensive and safe ornaments
  • Shatterproof Christmas ornaments will last for years and usually survive a swat or bump off of the tree
  • Silk Christmas ornaments are an alternative to glass and will withstand the curiosity of pets

Decorations Not on Your Tree

Even though the biggest attraction for your pets may be the tree, there are other hazards of Christmas decorations for pets to keep in mind.  This abbreviated list may help you keep your home pet-friendly during the holiday season:

  • Poinsettia Plants – which are mildly poisonous to pets if ingested
  • Advent Calendars – which often contain candy that can make your pets ill
  • Live Mistletoe – which is mildly to moderately poisonous to pets and humans
  • Cookies, Cakes, Pies – Some contain ingredients, such as chocolate or nuts, that can make our pets ill
  • Jerusalem Cherry – which cause painful intestinal issues
  • Lilies and Daffodils – which can cause convulsions and are fatal when ingested in large amounts

For More Information

If you have questions about Christmas decorations for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com.

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

What’s Safe and What to Avoid

With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may be doing a lot of menu planning.  Many of the holidays have traditions surrounding food, and none more so than Thanksgiving. You may be already aware that there are many foods unsafe for your pet. However, this list will show you that it is possible to prepare holiday food for pets that is delicious and safe for them.

Turkey

What would a Thanksgiving meal be without turkey? Luckily, the meat from this bird is safe for your pets as long as it is thoroughly cook. It should also be given without the skin. Of course, never give your dog the bones from the turkey. Bones can splinter easily becoming sharp weapons in your dog’s delicate digestive tract. In order to qualify as a good Thanksgiving food for pets, the turkey meat should be unseasoned.

Sweet Potatoes

There are several traditional Thanksgiving vegetables that your pets can enjoy with you.  Sweet potatoes are often a pup favorite.  They are rich in many nutrients, such as Vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium.  Most dogs will gladly chow down on some raw or dried pieces of sweet potato. You do not want to give your dog the canned kind or any that have been baked with marshmallows.  Most marshmallows contain Xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.  Your pets also do not need the additional sugar that is often found in sweet potato casseroles.  

Want to make a home made treat for your pup for the holidays?  Enjoy this recipe for a DIY Sweet Potato Dog Chew.

Green Beans

Another great veggie to share with your pets is green beans. They are high in both fiber and Vitamins C and K. The trick here is to feed them to your dog while you are cooking up your green bean casserole. Your pet will much prefer the raw, crisp version over the finished product. If your secret green bean casserole recipe involves onions or mushrooms, it is even more important to not let your dog sample it, as these ingredients are toxic to them.

Pumpkin

This fall classic is often one of the first foods to make an appearance at the holidays. That being said, feeding your animals leftover pumpkins from Halloween is not advised and could make your pet very ill.  You can, however, feed them pure fresh pumpkin. This holiday food for pets can be either raw or cooked, but it should not contain any added sugar or spices.

Bread

The bread debate; should I or shouldn’t I?  Dogs are not going to get much nutritional value out of bread (just like us).  Feeding your pup small servings of white bread or dinner rolls from time to time won’t hurt them.  It won’t help them either.  Bread is a filler food and doesn’t contain any extra nutrients that they are not already getting from their daily dog food diet.  There can be significant health risks, however, from bread dough or not fully cooked bread.  The yeast in many breads, if uncooked, will continue to rise once it enters your pets tummy.  Read more about bread and your dog here from the American Kennel Club.

Avoid Feeding Your Pets These Foods, Any Time of Year

Walnuts and Raisins

Many people know that raisins and grapes are dangerous for dogs.  These mini treats pack a punch to your pups kidneys. Avoid them always.  What many people do not know is that several types of nuts, in particular walnuts, are also very dangerous.  For more information on nuts and pets, reading this article will help.

Mac and Cheese

This holiday food for pets should be approached with caution. There is a debate on mac and cheese in the pet community. Dogs and cats do not need a daily dose of dairy products.  But some sure do love it!  However, some pets, even cats, can become intolerant of dairy products.  This is especially true in older pets.  In these cases, even small amounts of mac and cheese could result in gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.  You know your pet best, if their tummies can handle it, keep the treat to one small serving.  

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Onion

Garlic and onion can make your dogs very ill. Even the powdered versions can wreak havoc on your pets body.  Further, raw potatoes should be avoided as they contain an element toxic to animals; solanine.  If your pet loves potatoes, be sure that they are fully baked or boiled (and cooled) before serving to your furry friend.  Skip the salt and butter, too, for the best version for Fido.

As always, for items that may affect the health and safety of your pet, consult with your veterinarian. 

For More Information

If you have questions about holiday foods for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com.

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

It’s almost Halloween time again. We humans may be looking forward to ghosts and ghouls, but it can be a stressful time for pets. There are many sights and sounds that can scare your pets during Halloween. Taking a few precautions to minimize the spooky factor for your pets can go a long way. With these tips, you can make this Halloween safe for everyone.

Keep the Candy Away from Furry Paws

For many, Halloween is mostly about the candy. Those masses of sugary treats are intended for human trick-or-treaters. Most commercial candy can be toxic to your cat or dog.  Did you know that chocolate and pets are a dangerous combination as it can cause illness?  Even candies without sugar, like sugar-free gum, can be harmful to your pets.  These treats are often made with ingredients that can cause problems for animals. For a more complete list of harmful foods for pets, visit the ASPCA website.

To make sure that your holiday fun isn’t interrupted with a trip to the veterinarian’s office, it is best to keep those treats up and away from anything non-human. This includes zombies, scarecrows, and dragons. With all of those pets and non-pets roaming around this time of year, be sure to keep a close eye on the candy bowl. Pets especially love to grab things when you are distracted by the Princess trick-or-treater at the door. If you suspect your cat or dog did ingest candy or chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately.

If you absolutely have to treat your dog, there are a few non-candy alternatives that your pup will love. For instance, these Boo Bars from Blue Buffalo. They are made with pumpkin and cinnamon.

Limit Your Pet’s Costume Time

A cat or dog in a Halloween costume can be cute. However, most pets do not enjoy having their movements constricted by an awkward costume. That feeling may cause your pet to panic and become stressed.  When your pet feels that stress it can cause a dog or cat to hide or run away in fear.  If your pet will be wearing a costume for even a short time, be sure to inspect it. Check the costume for parts that may be a choking hazard. For instance, small parts can be easily chewed off.  If you are looking for a simple costume, consider a festive bandana for your pet. Some companies even make personalized bandanas for Rover.

Keeping Your Pet Calm During the Halloween Festivities

Halloween brings a lot of visitors to your door. This can be a frightening time for your pet. The constant flow of strangers – looking unusual – can increase your pet’s anxiety levels. On this evening, you may want to consider keeping your pets in a separate room during trick-or-treating times. Pets kept in a separate room will also ensure that Mittens and Rover won’t try to run out the front door. Just in case, however, make sure that your dog or cat has updated identification tags. In general, having updated tags is a good safety tip any time of the year. It can help you be reunited with your pet if they decide to make a dash for the door.

For More Information

If you have questions about Halloween safety tips for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com.

Halloween Safety for Pets

Halloween Safety for Pets

Halloween Safety for Pets

Halloween is a time of fun for us.  However, we often forget to consider our furry little friends during our party-prep. Halloween safety for pets is often last on the list of to-do items. Pet owners tend to ignore how a simple night where everyone just seem to have fun, can affect their pets. Animals are sensitive and very receptive to vibes; they are easily stimulated and can get startled within an instant. Given the nature of Halloween, there is often too much going on for your pets to take in and still remain calm. As such, we’d like to offer some tips for Halloween safety for pets. We’d like to help you keep your pet happy and out of danger.

Candy Can Be Poison to Animals

Do not feed your dog or your cat any candy. It might seem like nothing but it can be poison for your pet. Feeding chocolate to your pet can give them diarrhea, disrupt their breathing, cause a seizure and in extreme cases, even cause death. Make sure you do not feed the treats to your pet, and let your friends and family know they should refrain from doing so. Make a tag with ‘no pet feeding’ written over it put it outside your door so the kids around the block would refrain from doing so.

Let’s Not Put a Tutu on Your Pet

We understand how you cannot wait to put on your Halloween costume on, but putting one on your pet should be reconsidered. Animals do not feel the same way about clothes as we do. They are more relaxed when they are how they naturally are, in their own skin. If you must dress them up, make sure the costume is loose, airy and breathable for your pet. Also, make sure the fabric is not irritating for their skin otherwise they would simply chew off the costume.

Do Not Let the Dog Out!

With all the noise and hoo-hah going on outside, it is very likely that your pet can get startled and spooked in between all that. Cats and dogs can go into shock if they see something uncomfortable. Moreover, there are always kids in your neighborhood who cannot seem to leave your pet alone. Keep your pet inside so the chances of your pet getting in their hands are reduced to none.

Keep the Lights Away from Your Pets

Keep the wires and decorative objects away from your pet’s reach or it is possible they can get tangled up in them, chew them off, or get electrocuted.

Make Sure Your Pet Can Return Home

No matter how careful you are, there are always chances of your pet getting loose or getting lost. Which is why having a pet i.d. along with your address around their neck is important. This way, even if such thing happens, they can always be returned home. You can also put a tracking chip inside the i.d.  so they always remain on your watch.