It’s a busy time of year, but it’s important to make sure that your home is safe and happy for your pets. So visit the HSEC gift wrapping station in front of Belk’s inside the Greenville Mall, and take some time to read these handy holiday tips.
- Hang breakable ornaments high on your Christmas tree where animals can’t reach, and set up the tree so that your animal can’t knock it over. Only water the tree with plain water - no preservatives or chemicals. It’s common for pets to drink out of the watering bowl, so cover it if you can!
- Don’t put wrapped boxes of food under the tree - those noses are very sensitive.
- Avoid tinsel and clean up ribbons after unwrapping gifts. Both can cause serious problems if ingested.
- Keep light cords out of reach so they can’t be chewed on.
- Always supervise animals around lit candles.
- Don’t give out too many treats and make sure your pets won’t get into bones, trimmed fat, skin, discarded giblets, or those tasty little strings you used to tie up the turkey.
- Be careful to keep poisonous plants and decorations out of reach. Mistletoe, lillies, and some ivies are poisonous. Poinsettias, amaryllis, and hibiscus can cause severe digestive problems. Potpourri can cause skin and oral damage and can also be poisonous.
- Take standard party precautions. Cats in particular - even the friendliest - won’t want to be in the middle of all that noise. Keep shy animals isolated in a quiet, calm room with water and some toys to occupy them. If your pet is a true party animal, make sure that partygoers are treating them with kindness and common sense. No handfuls of greasy treats, no chocolate, and especially no drugs or alcohol.
Giving pets as gifts
Dogs and cats are cute - puppies and kittens are even cuter. And they’re pretty much a rainbow explosion of adorability when they’re sitting underneath a Christmas tree wearing a big red bow.
But you know what’s not so cute? The increased numbers of animals that are turned into shelters after the holidays are over. Because a pet is about more than a photo op, it’s a 10-18 year commitment of your time, energy, love, and money.
So what if you still want to get someone a pet for Christmas? Well, it might be the perfect gift - as long as you follow these important guidelines.
Do not surprise someone with a pet - especially an adult!
Even if you are sure that your loved one wants to get a pet, it should be up to the pet owner to decide if they are ready to take on the responsibility. Additionally, the bond between a pet and an owner is a special thing. Choosing a pet is very personal, and it’s important that the prospective adopter actually be present when the animal is chosen.
It’s best to give a pet a few weeks before or at least a week after the holidays.
Holidays are stressful enough for the people and pets already in a home. New decorations, family members hanging around, parties, noise - all of these things can freak out even the most well-adjusted cat or dog. Bringing a new animal into a home is also stressful. Don’t make it hard on yourself or your new furry friend by combining stressors.
Ok, so you’ve thought it through and you’ve decided that it would be appropriate to give someone a pet as a gift. Here’s how to do it.
Give the recipient a large wrapped box full of pet supplies and a coupon for the animal of their choice. It’s ok to offer to go with them to pick out the pet, but don’t push. It might take a couple of visits for the adopter to find their perfect fit.
If you absolutely must give a pet during the holidays, remember:
- Plan on spending quiet time at home so bonding with the new owner can occur and the pet will learn that home is a safe environment.
- Clean up all the present wrappings before introducing the new pet. The new pet should be the last present received.
- No parties at your home and limit the time you are away from home.
- Make your house pet safe.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
Your friends at the HSEC blog