Celebrating the winter holidays may look a bit different this year because of COVID, but keeping your pets safe is as important as ever, which is why you are invited to join your pets’ class for their holiday safety lessons. 

Holiday safety for cats

Mrs. Katz: Good morning kitty class! As you may have noticed, your owners are probably getting out a variety of exciting and irresistible decorations for the upcoming holidays. However, we need to lay down some ground rules to keep you out of trouble, so repeat after me:

  • “We do not eat tinsel.” — That’s right! I don’t care how shiny and wiggly, keep your little paws and mouths off tinsel at all times. The shiny stuff may look like fun, but having surgery to remove it from your stomach or intestines is definitely not fun. Friends don’t let friends eat tinsel, or any other string-like items, for that matter.
  • “Christmas trees are not for climbing.” I know you like to pretend you are a leopard effortlessly leaping into a tree carrying your latest kill, but you should use your cat tower, not the christmas tree for leopard practice. If you are a naughty kitten-leopard, you had better hope that your owners have tied the tree to the wall so it won’t fall. And the tree may stay standing, but your climbing could knock breakable ornaments on the floor, injuring you, or another family member. Don’t do it! To help you mind your manners, your owners may have to put tinfoil, a baby gate, or scat mats around the base of the tree.
  • “Stay far away from candles.” Do you love your fluffy tail and your cute little toe beans? If so, give the candles a wide berth because brushing against or knocking one over can burn you or set your house on fire. Firefighters coming to your house is not a good thing, no matter how many hours of fire truck videos your toddler owner watches.

Holiday safety for dogs

Mr Dawg: Hello, pup pack! Lunch is finished, so now is as good a time as any to talk about holiday food safety. Please turn to the forbidden foods section of your workbook. You may color the pictures however you want, but don’t eat your crayons, or the coloring book, and certainly not these foods:

  • AlcoholYour owners may be toasting the end of 2020, but if you want to join them, ask Santa Paws for some Bowser Beer, Chardognay, or a similar dog-specific, non-alcoholic drink. If the humans leave their alcohol glass unattended, resist the urge to take a sip, or you may spend the rest of the night stumbling around, vomiting, and sleeping it off.
  • Fatty foodsWho can resist a juicy piece of ham, savory turkey skin, or other grease-laden delicacies? Probably no dog, so hopefully your owner doesn’t leave these out where you can get them, or feed them to you as a treat because your pancreas could become angry, eat away at your insides, and give you a bellyache with vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Desserts When your owners leave a plate of cookies out for Santa Paws, don’t eat them, or you likely will end up on the naughty list. Anything with raisins, macadamia nuts, coffee, chocolate, or xylitol can be extremely dangerous and you will end up spending the holidays at the veterinary hospital instead of with your family.
  • TrashChant to yourself, “Don’t eat the trash, don’t eat the trash” if your owners accidentally leave a trash bag in your reach. The turkey carcass may have a satisfying crunch, or the greasy foil may make you drool with anticipation, but you will regret your poor choices later when you are in the veterinary hospital with an esophagus, stomach, or intestine perforation or obstruction.

I hope your owners won’t need help, but pick up a magnet with the phone numbers for Pet Poison Helpline and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to ensure your owners know who to call if you eat something you shouldn’t. 

Holiday etiquette for pets

Ms. Purrfect: Hello, pups and kitties. Thanks for inviting me to talk to you about holiday manners. Let’s talk about some common situations that may arise:

  • Guests arriving and departingWhenever guests are coming in the door, give them lots of space, so they don’t step on you and you don’t trip them. You should never try to dash through the open door to go on an adventure. If you lack self-control and stay underfoot, your owner may decide to put you in a separate room while guests are arriving. You should always ensure you are wearing your collar with identification tags and that you are microchipped on the off chance you do get lost. 
  • Feeling like a party pooperIt is OK if you don’t love all the action and noise that comes with holiday celebrations. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a toy to a quiet spot in the house, or ask your owners to put you in a cozy room or your crate. Being labeled “a bit antisocial” is better than panicking, biting or scratching someone, or having an accident on the floor. Nothing ruins the holiday mood more than a smelly mess on the carpet, and then you will be labeled as a literal party pooper forever. 
  • Checking bags, purses, and coatsIt’s not a good idea to rifle through the guests’ coat pockets, purses, and bags looking for snacks or hidden presents, because you may accidentally eat something dangerous. Hopefully, they will put their things out of reach so you are not tempted, but if they don’t, try to keep your paws to yourself.

Hopefully you and your pet have paid attention to these lessons and they stay safe this season. But, if they get themselves into a spot of holiday trouble, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Airway Animal Clinic.