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Howl-iday Pet Tips

Advice for keeping four-legged friends safe & happy

By Charlotte the Bold - Guest blogger “dogger”

The holidays are approaching quickly, and humans are rushing to and fro.

This time is also exciting for the furry in your family, both dogs and cats.

But we need your help to keep the wag in our tails and the purrs on our throats. And avoid the dreaded “cone” of shame.

Delightful decorations

At this time of the year our humans actually bring trees into the house. What could be better? While we just love this tradition, there are things you should do to protect the most inquisitive of us.

Make sure your Christmas tree is anchored securely so when a curious feline decides to explore the boughs it doesn’t tip and fall, especially on a canine (like me) who might be watching below.

Keep the tree water fresh so the stagnant water (a breeding ground for bacteria) doesn’t give us stomachaches.

Sparkly tinsel, yarn, ribbon and loose little pieces of string need to be kept out of our reach or they might result in an obstruction and emergency surgery — and the dreaded cone!

Unattended lit candles might get knocked over. Or, a curious paw might get burned.

Holly and mistletoe can make us sick.

And lilies can kill cats!

If we chew wires (which we do — for no good reason I can give here) we could burn our mouths or even be electrocuted.

Food, glorious food!

There is so much wonderful food around during this time of the year. Sometimes everything smells so great we walk around with our noses

in the air, taking it all in.

You also need to watch us a little closer for unattended food or unsecured garbage cans. We feel what you don’t see won’t hurt you — but it can certainly hurt us.

In fact, at this time of the year there are foods that are not good for us. They can even kill us.

Chocolate, or anything sweetened with xylitol, should never be fed to pets.

Fatty, spicy leftovers and bones should not be given to us.

Instead of being tempted to share your food with us, stuff our stockings with pet-safe treats and toys.

Holidays mean company

At this time of the year family and friends are likely to visit.

Some of us pets think that is a wonderful tradition. For others, it can be a really scary time.

If your guests love animals (and the feeling is likewise for us) invite them to spend time petting, playing with or even walking us.

It is always best to keep pets away from babies or toddlers. Because even the most patient of us can react in a negative way if we are hurt by pinching, hitting, being stepped on or even bitten. It is a hard thing to understand why we should permit anyone to hurt us and not be allowed to defend ourselves.

If your guests have medicine (or any of the other hazardous items mentioned earlier), please ask them to keep them packed away where we can’t find them.

Even with those of us who are happy to have new faces and smells in the house, give us a space we can retreat to that has our bed and fresh water. Hey, even the best of us needs a “time out” sometimes — I know you feel that way too at times!

Yippy new year!

Loud noises can scare even the boldest of us. I would even go so far as to say it hurts our ears. Give us a quiet, escape-proof refuge we can escape to get away from all of the clamor during the New Year’s celebrations.

Pick up all of the confetti before letting us back into the room again so that we don’t eat it which — you guessed it — might result in that dreaded cone.

Here’s wishing you and your family a happy and cone-free 2020!


Charlotte the Bold is an alumna of Orphans of

the Storm. She serves as guest columnist on

matters she feels are important. If you have

pet questions, email her at

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1 Comment

Beth Milanak
Beth Milanak
Dec 05, 2019

Good advice for your pets over the holidays.

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