Keep Your Pets Safe and Your Christmas Merry

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A Few Tips and Tidbits To Make Your Holidays Purrfect

The holiday season is a busy time with parties and family gatherings to worry about. With so much on our minds, it’s easy to forget the pets in our lives and the special needs they have. A few bad moves can spell danger for your fur babies, so be sure to keep those potential issues in mind.

Be mindful of your decorations

Plants are a popular decoration for the home, but many of them are dangerous or fatal for pets. Sprigs of holly, for example, can “cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea” said Penny Pearsall, community relations manager for Capital Area Humane Society. “Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.” Lilies, another popular plant, can “cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.” 

You don’t have to avoid plants entirely, though. Instead of picking up their real versions, look to artificial plants to spruce up your home. They come in plastic or silk, look just as good and are much safer.

Christmas trees pose the dangers of scratches on your pet as well as stagnant water that houses tons of bacteria. On top of that is the constant fear of the tree tipping over and hurting someone in the process. If you aren’t able to invest in a decent artificial tree, make sure your real tree is anchored down and no pets drink from its water.

Pets as gifts

 “In the past, most shelters felt it was a bad idea to give pets as a gift,” Pearsall said, before pointing out that studies by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals show “no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts.” The studies also show that there is no decrease in love for a pet received as a gift either, even if it was a complete surprise.

But while giving a pet as a gift may not be as bad as previously thought, there are some legitimate concerns to think about. Holidays are a hectic, busy time. Having a new pup or kitty to take care of while balancing everything else on top of that may prove to be too much for many people.

In that situation, Pearsall suggested  “bringing a new pet home a week or so later, when things calm down.” The Capital Area Humane Society sells gift certificates that make great gifts and allow somebody to pick out his or her new fur baby when the timing is right. You can find more information on their webpage,, or call them at (517) 626-6060.