Easy ways to pet-proof the home for the holidays
To truly pet-proof your home, start by getting down on the floor to see the world the way your pet sees it. This allows you to spot potential hazards that you might not notice from your vantage point.
Active puppies and kittens can easily get into dangerous situations. Use safety gates in areas where dangerous holiday items are to prevent your pet from getting into trouble.
Take caution with wires: Pets can easily injure themselves with electrical wires and outlets. Use caution when hanging up holiday lights on trees and around the house. Secure all electrical cords and outlets, and keep your dog in areas of your home where cords cannot be accessed.
Avoid holiday plants: Plants can be poisonous for pets, so be cautious when placing holiday wreaths, flowers and plants around the house where your dog can easily access them.
Candles: Lit candles pose a serious threat to both your dog and your home.
Hide the trash can: A hyper puppy can easily knock over a trash can and spread garbage and bacteria throughout your home. In addition, dogs can choke on hazardous items so be sure to properly dispose of all holiday wrapping and keep it out of your dog’s reach.
Utilize a sofa cover: To avoid fur on your loveseat, use a seat or slipcover to avoid a mess before guests arrive.
Be careful with fruit and candy baskets: Holiday treats will inevitably be present during this season, but grapes (and raisins), chocolate and other holiday treats are actually deadly for dogs. Candy wrappers can also be threatening to your dog, so be sure to throw away all wrappers in a place where your dog can’t get to them.
TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH PETS
Flying with your pet: If you are going to take your pet on an airplane, it is important to determine whether your pet will need a crate or a carrier. Larger dogs will fly in a crate in the cargo, and smaller dogs that fit into a carrier can fly in the plane. Make sure you find out the requirements for your dog prior to booking your flight.
Familiarize your pet with its crate or carrier: Pets like familiarity. If you plan on keeping your pet inside a carrier or crate while traveling, make purchases at least a month before travel to allow your pet ample time to get comfortable with the new environment. Place him or her in the carrier and provide some treats. Gradually lengthen the time your pet is in the crate or carrier until your pet seems at ease in its new space.
Car safety: It is important that we always think about the dog’s safety while in your car. If you want it to sit on the seat, get your pup a dog seatbelt. If you have an SUV, you can buy a gate.
Feed your pet no less than five or six hours before traveling: It is very easy for your dog or cat to become sick during travel. Providing time for food to digest lessens the chances of your pet becoming ill.
Find a pet-friendly hotel: And if you’ve got plans during the day, since most pet-friendly hotels will not allow pets to be left in the room alone.
Make your pet feel at home: Use familiar dishes, blankets, toys and other items from your home to create a sense of comfort for your pet.
BENEFITS OF PET ADOPTION
General benefits: There’s a reason that they say dog is man’s best friend. Having a pet, not limited to dogs, is something that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Pets can be calming, mood lifting, empathetic, and so much more. They teach you how to be selfless and responsible as you are caring over another life (for those of you without children). Generally speaking, they make you happy.
Save the life of a shelter pet: Only 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters; the rest are left to live in the rescue centers or, worse – euthanized. Bottom line: Adopting a pet saves their life. Give a dog or cat a home they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Stress reduction: Some studies show that people begin to feel less anxious after spending less than an hour with an animal. There are endless benefits from lowering your stress level and while the things that we find stressful in our lives are often hard to cut out, including an animal in your life can help.
Helps with depression: In some cases, therapists suggest to patients suffering from depression that they adopt a pet. An animal will love you unconditionally and also be a great friend and listener. People with depression often benefit from having a pet, as the animal can help them get out of the house and out of their own head.
Engaged mind: A key to a healthy mind, especially for those who are elderly, is staying engaged with others. A pet is often a conversation starter and being out with a pet often warrants questions or comments from passersby. Bringing your dog to a dog park is a great way to meet other people with similar interests.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE ADOPTING A PET
What breed are you looking to adopt? Different breeds have different characteristics and you will want to understand the types of behaviors that may be displayed by your new family member.
Who will care for the new pet? Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.
If you have children in your household, enrolling your new pup and family members into an obedience class should be high on your priority list. Children need to learn how to safely interact with the dogs so that accidents don’t happen.
If there are elderly members in a household, a strong vigorous adolescent pet is not advised. Large breeds also demand more physical upkeep, something that an older person may have trouble performing.
Does your family have an opinion on their newest member of the family? Although it is exciting to surprise the family with a new pet, do some research and poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the household. Once your family has chosen a breed that suits the family’s requirements, the best approach is to bring the whole family to meet the potential new family member and gauge how they all interact.
Are you financially ready for this responsibility? A new pet can go for “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. A budget must be set not only for the upfront cost of taking the pet home, but also for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind that your pet will need to be fed and groomed and will also need chew toys and additional supplies like food bowls, a dog bed, brushes, leashes, etc.
Keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies.