Tips to Pet-Proof Your Florida Home This Holiday Season

Tips to Pet-Proof Your Florida Home This Holiday Season

At Artisan Homes, we look forward to enjoying holiday celebrations at this time of year with our families and friends.  And we believe that decorating your Northeast Florida home is a wonderful way to express both tradition and your individual personality.  But as you enjoy the many pleasures of the season, please keep the health and safety of your pets in mind and be aware of ways that some aspects of holiday décor and festivities can possibly cause them harm.

Gorgeous decorations, scrumptious foods, and beautiful gifts represent sudden and spectacular changes to your environment, and a curious dog or cat may find them irresistible.  It’s important to look at things from a pet’s point of view and consider what they’re likely to play with, chew, or otherwise get into.  If these items can hurt or even kill, they need to be removed or relocated.

Make your home pet-friendly by avoiding low-hanging tinsel, popcorn on a string, ribbon, yarns and similar things that, if swallowed, can become tangled and require immediate veterinary attention.  Also, some plants commonly displayed at this time of year can be mildly toxic to pets.  Examples include holly, mistletoe and poinsettia, which can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach that sometimes leads to vomiting. 

If you have a cat, please don’t allow them access to lilies, amaryllis or narcissus.  And daffodils – especially the bulbs – are very dangerous for both cats and dogs.  Pets don’t normally consume large amounts of evergreen tree material, but it’s good to know that doing so may result in serious gastrointestinal problems or even internal puncture.

Of course, it’s always wise to secure a Christmas tree so it won’t topple over – or at least put a barrier around it.  And make sure any fragile ornaments that are sure to attract your pet’s attention will be well out of reach.  Don’t allow a cat or dog to have access to  the water you use to keep the tree from drying out.  It’s likely to contain sap, bacteria and even fertilizer.  Cover it with foil, plastic or screening material for their protection.

Avoid possible fire damage to your Florida home and injury to your pets by using LED candles instead of open flames when you’re not there.  And be sure to hang any bulbs that generate heat high enough so cats or dogs can’t brush against them.  Protect electrical wires, especially if you have a puppy that’s in the teething stage.

Animals can be attracted to lotions, cosmetics, or food items — none of these should be kept on display.  And be aware that pets may try to mark things that suddenly appear in the homeThat includes your tree, decorative plants, gifts and any other foreign objects.

It’s important that you and any guests you entertain not give pets any of the human food that’s sure to be so enticing to them.  They should never be allowed to ingest candy (especially chocolate), alcohol, Thanksgiving scraps, any part of the turkey, poultry bones or anything made with pork.  Instead, offer their favorite dog or cat treats and maybe some others you’ve bought especially for the occasion.

With extra people in your Florida home for the holidays, it’s not easy to keep track of pets and what they might be doing.  So be sure to secure whatever receptacle you’re using for trash and garbage.  When it’s time to sit down and eat, you deserve to relax.  Consider keeping your pets in another room so they can’t beg at the table and guests won’t be tempted to give them food.

From a safety standpoint, remember that you and others may open the door of your home many times over the course of the evening.  If your dog or cat won’t be confined in a crate or separate location during the festivities, please be sure it’s wearing a tag and collar prior to your guests’ arrival.  That’s an extra precaution you can take to ensure that your pet will be returned to you if it were to escape.

All of us at Artisan Homes wish you a safe and very enjoyable holiday season!

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