Holly, Jolly and Safe!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost upon us and we love to include our pets in the festivities! With a few precautions and thoughts of safety for all of our furry companions, they can be holidays to remember.

* Keep their schedule. Our girls have a pretty well-kept schedule during the week, but special activities and parties get them all out of kilter. Whether you're going to be gone for the evening or have groups coming over, try to keep your pets on their normal routine as much as possible. This will keep their anxiety low and their digestive systems close to normal.

* And watch what they eat! It's fun to give treats and special people food during the holidays, but this wreaks havoc on little tummies. (Ours too!) Plan on keeping snacks and handouts to a minimum - this may mean telling guests not to feed them scraps. There are all kinds of ways to let our pets celebrate with us without filling them with extra food.

* The tree. Most animals are super-curious when you start bringing the outdoors inside. If you have a Christmas tree, real or not, they will be excited and decide to investigate. Anchor it as securely as you can and then set boundaries for your dogs. Spritzing kitty with water when she gets too close may do the trick, but keep an eye out anyway.

* Decorate intelligently. Don't hang ornaments too low on the tree if they're shiny or breakable - this is an invitation to play. Put candles up out of the way and don't leave them lit if there are pets around. Tinsel is a really bad idea since it's just what your cat will play with (and then ingest). Tuck wires back and under things so they'll be out of the way.

* Keep plants out of reach.
Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia are all incredibly dangerous to your pets' systems. Either keep them up and out of the way or forgo them all together. Consider decorating with imitation plants or some other foliage that isn't harmful.

* Have an escape plan.
There should be one room in the house that is completely safe for your pets - no decorations, no guests and no extra noise. Let them chill out in there when parties and people are a little too much. It will save both your sanity and theirs.


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