Keeping My Pets Safe During The Holidays

December is a busy time for most people in America, and my household is no exception. I often feel like I maintain a small zoo in my Craftsman style home. We have four mice, three children, two dogs, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, the partridge is actually a parrot named Lemmy. Nonetheless, I have a lot of creatures depending on me for their healthiness and happiness. Unfortunately, with the holiday stresses and business, I sometimes forget to pet proof my holiday decorations. It usually isn’t long before my zoo reminds me of my forgetfulness.

One of my most common mistakes is keeping the food secure in our country kitchen. My dogs have learned to work as a team in order to get those delicious treats on the counter. The big dog sniffs out exactly where the food is, and the little one hops up there and pushes it off. This year they got ahold of a fairly large pile of turkey cuttings. Before I even notice what happened, they had eaten all the evidence. At least it wasn’t like last year when they ate a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate can be harmful to dogs, so I had to take the little one in to the vet to get his stomach pumped. The big dog just got sick all over the carpet. That definitely added more stress to the holiday, but I was happy they were not harmed.

cat in Christmas tree

My cat is a whole other story. I learned several years ago not to use tinsel on the tree after Mr. Snuggins decided to eat some of it. We also invested in a fake tree to keep the pets from drinking the tree water. I tried putting things like bubble wrap and sticky mats around the tree to scare them away, but it never really worked properly for the level of excitement of my pets.  I have also gotten better about securely the breakable ornaments to the tree since the Great Tree Fiasco of 2010. The cat must’ve annoyed the dogs somehow and they went on a crazy chase throughout the house. In the midst of their fun, they knocked over the tree and broke half of my ornaments. I was so mad that I banished the dogs to our storage building that we built from one of those garage plans. I couldn’t stay mad at them long and let them back in a short while later. Now I try to only buy plastic and non-breakable ornaments.

dog next to fireplace

Guests often love my zoo, but the animals don’t always like the guests. I try to keep the bird in the rear foyer. This keeps him separated from the party and I can tell a difference in his level of stress. One year before I moved him back there, poor birdie was so upset with all the people that he ripped out some of his feathers. Mr. Snuggins usually finds his own hiding place upstairs in our closet. It is a nice, quiet place he can go to get away from all the company. On the otherhand, the dogs absolutely love all the people. They both think everyone is there to visit with them. By the end of the day, they are so worn out from all the attention that they usually collapse next to the fireplace for a nice, long sleep.

Of course, I always make a stop at the pet store during my holiday shopping. I try to get some new items and treats for all of my lovely animals. The mice and bird love little treats made of nuts and seeds. Every year, I get the dogs and Mr. Snuggins new pet beds for Christmas. Although they may be a lot of work sometimes, I sure do love all my adorable pets.

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