For humans, Christmas is a time of celebration and holiday cheer, but to dogs, cats, and other companion animals, the festive period can be filled with potential dangers. PETA shares with us, its advice to keep your feline friend safe during the holidays.
Urging everyone to make sure that the festivities are enjoyable for all living beings this Christmas, PETA share with us the following steps:
- Keep tinsel, ribbons, and ornament hooks away from prying paws. If you see ribbon or tinsel hanging from your animal’s mouth, call the vet, pronto. Never pull it out – it can cut their intestines.
- Make sure that guests and kids don’t share unapproved treats with animals. Some foods – such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes, onions, dough, and sweets containing xylitol – can be extremely harmful to dogs and cats.
- Plants such as holly, mistletoe, sago palm, and lilies are pretty to look at, but animals who eat them can get sick or even die. Keep these plants well out of animals’ reach – or better yet, choose plants that aren’t toxic to them.
- The comings and goings of guests provide opportunities for dogs and cats to slip out of the house. Have your animals microchipped, and make sure they’re wearing collars with ID tags while guests are around, just in case.
- Save the numbers of your regular vet and the nearest emergency vet in your mobile phone so you’ll always be prepared for unexpected mishaps.
- Make sure you don’t overlook your animal companions need for exercise and playtime – no matter how hectic it gets over the holidays.
- Instead of giving your loved ones Christmas gifts that they don’t really want or need, show your Christmas spirit in a more meaningful way – make a donation to a local animal protection group or shelter in their honour.
This festive season, remember that animals can be a wonderful addition to a family – but just not when they’re given as gifts to unsuspecting recipients during one of the most chaotic times of the year. If you know for sure that your loved one is prepared to make a lifelong commitment to an animal companion and has plenty of time, money, patience, and love to offer, consider giving a “gift voucher” for an animal from a local shelter. That way, the recipient can make the important decisions about the best time frame and which animal seems like the best fit. Plus, you’ll be doing more than giving your loved one the gift of unconditional love and companionship – you’ll also be giving a homeless animal the gift of life.
Elisa Allen is the Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK.