Metro Weekly

7 Christmas Cautions for Dogs and Cats

Take these steps to ensure a happy holiday season for you and your pet

Photo by Tony Campbell

Photo by Tony Campbell

You may be the type who tries to maximize the holiday, squeezing out as many ways — and as many days — to celebrate Christmas or Chanukah as possible. And there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as you realize many others are not nearly as festively inclined, including your dog or cat. So don’t force the season’s greetings on them.

In fact, to put things into pet perspective: Every day with you is essentially a holiday for your pet — and any day that strays too far from a routine puts them on edge. The more you can make the holiday season feel like any other to him, the better off he and you will be.

Here are seven specific things to think about or avoid to ensure a happy holiday season for you and your pet. Above all, practice common sense and keep a watchful eye. “Diligence and prevention are our best tools to keep our pets from getting sick,” according to Janine Calabro, chief of emergency and critical care at D.C.’s Friendship Hospital for Animals.

1. Toxic Holiday Food — “There are certain types of toxicity that we see a little bit more frequently during the holidays,” Dr. Calabro says. Most revolve around foods that are dangerous to cats and dogs — from chocolate to onions to the raisins in fruitcake. Among other human holiday food items, be sure to keep dogs and cats away from fatty foods such as turkey skin — which can cause pancreatitis — and cooked bones, which can get caught in or tear up the intestinal lining.

2. Toxic Tinsel and Ornaments — But it’s not just human food that’s toxic. Make sure you secure any and all Christmas tree ornaments and keep a watchful eye on any that fall or break. And particularly, if you have a cat, you should forego tree tinsel altogether. It might be cute to watch Fluffy bat at it or carry a loose strand in his mouth as his shiny new “toy.” But it’s all fun and games until he digests it. “Especially the long thin strands of it can get stuck in their gastrointestinal tracts,” Dr. Calabro says. You’ll go from shiny tinsel to vomiting or worse, ruining the festive feeling.

3. Tree Dangers — “With regard to the live tree,” Dr. Calabro says, “more of the issue has to do with the water they’re sitting in” — from added fertilizer to the bacteria that builds up even in pure water after a couple weeks. Make sure your dog or cat can’t lap at it, and that it — and your whole tree, for that matter — is securely anchored. And maybe put up a gate or in some other way make it hard to access the tree and all the new electric cords you’ve added. “It’s quite common to see particularly puppies biting the electric cords attached to the lights, which can lead to electrocution and pretty significant consequences.”

4. The Holly and The Lily — “Most Christmas-associated plants, like holly and mistletoe and poinsettias, cause more gastrointestinal upsets than anything else,” Dr. Calabro says, “as long as they’re not ingested in very large quantities. [But all kinds of] lilies can be fatal if cats ingest them, even just getting some of the pollen if they’re playing with the flowers or chewing on the leaves.” So better to just say no to lilies.

5. Toysmart — When gifting for your dog, it’s best to stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, or at least those designed to be digested. And for your cat, pick out a stuffed catnip toy or a new ball that’s too big to swallow.

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6. Restricted Travel — There may be fewer injuries involving cars striking or running over animals during the wintertime because there are fewer pets on the road — but there are still too many car-related pet accidents this time of year, when more pets travel by car and yet not enough pet owners put them in a crate or seat belt harness. The American Automobile Association estimates that between 20 and 30 percent of car accidents are caused by dogs being loose in a car. Don’t be that guy.

7. Create a Safe Space — If you throw a big party or host out-of-town guests for the holidays, consider cordoning off a quiet, comfortable room — even just a bathroom — to which your dog can retreat complete with a few toys, treats and blanket to make him feel less anxious or destructive.

Friendship Hospital for Animals is at 4105 Brandywine St. NW. Call 202-363-7300 or visit friendshiphospital.com.

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Two-Man Irish Comedy "Stones in His Pockets"

at Keegan Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
+ 10 more dates
Sun, September 24
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
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Mon, October 02
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Fri, October 06
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Fri, October 13
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FULL PRICE: $45
OFFER PRICE: $22.50

In wicked tragicomedy "Stones in His Pockets", a big-budget Hollywood film descends upon a small village in Ireland and turns everything upside down. Two down-on-their-luck Irish 30-somethings become ... [more+]

In wicked tragicomedy "Stones in His Pockets", a big-budget Hollywood film descends upon a small village in Ireland and turns everything upside down. Two down-on-their-luck Irish 30-somethings become extras in the film, and the movie is a wonderful break from worrying about their futures. That is, until the harsh realities of rural life break through. The play offers a funny, dark and poignant look at the complicated relationship between Tinseltown and its subjects. Watch real life and the reel world collide when this Olivier Award-winning comedy by Irish playwright Marie Jones comes to D.C.'s Keegan Theatre. [less-]

Absurdist Comedy "The Arsonists"

at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 5 more dates
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You probably know the meme of the cartoon dog surrounded by flames and declaring: "This is fine." But you might not know this classic work that may as well have inspired it. Mild-mannered Mr. Biederma... [more+]

You probably know the meme of the cartoon dog surrounded by flames and declaring: "This is fine." But you might not know this classic work that may as well have inspired it. Mild-mannered Mr. Biederman tries to live a blameless life, refusing to acknowledge evil of any kind -- even as the world around him burns. The facade comes crashing down when he allows two smooth-talking guests to move in to his home and they start filling his attic with petrol drums. Part moral fable and part black farce, Alistair Beaton's "The Arsonists" is an elegant, witty translation of Max Frisch's 1958 absurdist comedy "The Firebugs", which was inspired by the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 and satirizes the way in which people can be manipulated into accommodating their own destruction. [less-]

Cruise Past the National Monuments: Candlelight Dinner & Dancing

at Nina's Dandy, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
+ 12 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $98 - $108
OFFER PRICE: $66 - $76

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Nina's Dandy Lunch and Brunch Cruises With National Monument Views

at Nina's Dandy, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Mon, September 25
Thu, September 28
+ 10 more dates
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Sun, November 05
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FULL PRICE: $50 - $60
OFFER PRICE: $36 - $43

Cruise from historic old town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums, to Georgetown and back on this relaxing midday 2 1/2-hour sail on the Potomac. Soak up the sights ... [more+]

Cruise from historic old town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums, to Georgetown and back on this relaxing midday 2 1/2-hour sail on the Potomac. Soak up the sights on this narrated tour, including Washington's famous cherry blossom trees -- a gift from Japan in 1912 -- and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Along the way, enjoy a three-course lunch with salad, entree and dessert served at your table. Or, set out for a champagne brunch cruise on Sunday, and you'll find a buffet filled with a variety of breakfast and lunch treats. [less-]

"Deathtrap": Killer Comedy Thriller

at Silver Spring Stage, Silver Spring
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Sun, September 24
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
+ 2 more dates
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"Deathtrap", the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, slayed audiences for years with its masterful mix of razor-sharp wit and suspense, and now it'll be brought back to vibrant life by Silver... [more+]

"Deathtrap", the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, slayed audiences for years with its masterful mix of razor-sharp wit and suspense, and now it'll be brought back to vibrant life by Silver Spring Stage. In this diabolically-told tale by Ira Levin ("The Stepford Wives, Rosemary's Baby"), a once-successful and now-desperate playwright embarks on a fateful collaboration with one of his college-seminar students in pursuit of a much needed hit. But their partnership kicks off a series of murderous plots and thrilling twists that'll keep you guessing "whodunit" right up to the final curtain. [less-]

Neil Gaiman's Urban Fantasy "Neverwhere"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 4 more dates
Sun, September 24
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FULL PRICE: $45
OFFER PRICE: Sold Out

Enter a hidden world that lurks below the London city streets, where fallen angels, monsters and magic are real and an ordinary businessman can become a hero. Based on the cult classic novel by sci-fi... [more+]

Enter a hidden world that lurks below the London city streets, where fallen angels, monsters and magic are real and an ordinary businessman can become a hero. Based on the cult classic novel by sci-fi and fantasy master Neil Gaiman, "Neverwhere" is the story of Richard Mayhew, whose mundane life is changed forever when he encounters a young woman in distress named Door. His attempt to help her leads him to the parallel world of London Below, where all kinds of fantastic creatures make their home. On the run from deadly assassins, Richard and Door must make their way across the deadly darkness of Night's Bridge and through the weird and wonderful communities of London Below in search of the Angel Islington, who will help them ... for a price. Rorschach Theatre's production brings Gaiman's metropolitan wonderland to brilliant and colorful life on stage at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. [less-]

Georgetown Architecture Tour

at DC Design Tours - Baked & Wired, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Sun, October 01
Sun, October 08
+ 3 more dates
Sun, September 24
Sun, October 01
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FULL PRICE: $35
OFFER PRICE: $17.50

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Ghosts of Georgetown Walking Tour -- A Haunted Trek Through DC

at The Old Stone House, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
+ 22 more dates
Sun, September 24
Tue, September 26
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FULL PRICE: $20
OFFER PRICE: $10

DC By Foot presents a walking tour featuring the Ghosts of Georgetown. Among the historic streets, manicured gardens and Victorian row houses of one of Washington, D.C.'s finest neighborhoods lie deep... [more+]

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An Obsession Scares Up Vampires in "St. Nicholas"

at Writer's Center, Bethesda
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Thu, September 28
Thu, November 16
+ 13 more dates
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Thu, September 28
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Tue, November 28
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Sat, December 02
Sun, December 03
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FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

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Now coming to the stage at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, this critically acclaimed one-man show asks the audience to question whether a Dublin theater critic really did run into vampires while chasing a young actress in London. "St. Nicholas" springs from the brilliant mind of Irish playwright Conor McPherson ("The Weir", "The Night Alive") and stars master McPherson interpreter Steve Beall. [less-]

Tour Beautiful & Historic Historic Georgetown on Foot

at Georgetown Harbour, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
FULL PRICE: $29
OFFER PRICE: $14.50

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Tour the Capital Sites on the Washington D.C. Unveiled Electric Roadster Tour

at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Sun, September 24
Mon, September 25
+ 11 more dates
Sun, September 24
Sun, September 24
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Mon, September 25
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Tue, September 26
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Wed, September 27
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Thu, September 28
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Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
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FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $33

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"Monuments by Night" Puts D.C. Landmarks on Display

at Smithsonian Metro Station, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
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Mon, October 23
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Fri, October 27
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Tue, October 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $33

See the majestic landmarks of Washington in a new light with the "Monuments by Night" tour. You'll get to skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around town in an electric roadster. And you won't miss ... [more+]

See the majestic landmarks of Washington in a new light with the "Monuments by Night" tour. You'll get to skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around town in an electric roadster. And you won't miss a thing -- this two-hour tour takes you past all the must-see locations in D.C. You'll check out the FDR, MLK and Lincoln memorials, and get the inside scoop on the White House, Capitol and Smithsonian buildings. You'll also get great tips on dining, drink and other awesome stops in the nation's capital. [less-]

"Julius Caesar": Updated Retelling Mirrors Modern Day

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
FULL PRICE: $40 - $45
OFFER PRICE: Sold Out

Senators Cassius and Brutus are suspicious of Caesar's growing power in the Republic. They fear he'll accept offers to become Emperor. Cassius is jealous, and he convinces Brutus to participate in ass... [more+]

Senators Cassius and Brutus are suspicious of Caesar's growing power in the Republic. They fear he'll accept offers to become Emperor. Cassius is jealous, and he convinces Brutus to participate in assassinating Caesar. The conspirators stab Caesar in a gruesome murder. Yet their troubles have just begun. Citizens unite and rebel. Unrest sweeps Rome. The rebels flee Greece and wage battle against Caesar-loyalist Mark Antony and his troops in a vain attempt to reclaim power. Political aspirations and the fate of Rome hang in the balance during this climactic battle. Scena Theatre's modern interpretation of "Julius Caesar" features an all-star cast from the D.C. area. Revel in this timeless tale as it unfolds on the stage of Atlas Performing Arts Center, and discover the parallels of modern Washington and ancient Rome. [less-]

Get Entertained & Energized Against Gun Violence

at Keegan Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $7.50

From "We Are the World" to LiveAid, Farm Aid, Hope for Haiti and beyond, the ability of live music to heal the heart, raise awareness and initiate action is undeniably powerful. The Concert Across Ame... [more+]

From "We Are the World" to LiveAid, Farm Aid, Hope for Haiti and beyond, the ability of live music to heal the heart, raise awareness and initiate action is undeniably powerful. The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence comes to DC's Keegan Theatre as one of dozens of events taking place around the country on the same night to support finding solutions to this epidemic. Be inspired and entertained by several of the city's finest theater artists-activists, including Ines Nassara ("110 in the Shade"), Bridget Linsenmeyer of the female-empowerment band Heroine and others. [less-]

Fiery Comedy From "House of Cards" Writer

at Theatre on the Run, Arlington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
+ 1 more dates
Sun, September 24
Fri, September 29
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Sun, October 01
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FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

After grad school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a superstar academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in... [more+]

After grad school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a superstar academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the other's life. Their burning envy sets off a dangerous game of musical chairs, with Gwen's husband as the prize. With searing insight and trademark wit, this Pulitzer-nominated comedy weaves an intimate tale of contemporary gender politics that illuminates our common struggle to achieve that ever-elusive goal called "happiness." Peter's Alley Theatre Productions presents a bold new production of this sharp look at how women -- and men -- find happiness and conquer disappointment at Arlington's Theatre on the Run. [less-]

"An English Garden": Songs of the Elizabethan Theater

at Folger Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
FULL PRICE: $42
OFFER PRICE: Sold Out

Theater flourished in England during the time of William Shakespeare, but just as popular were the ballads and art songs that served as a soundtrack to the high dramas and low comedies of the time. "A... [more+]

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"The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 4 more dates
Sun, September 24
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Sun, October 01
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OFFER PRICE: $20 - $30

Iconic blues singer Bessie Smith's life was as large and outrageous as her talent. Live it with her as "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith" takes you back to a 1937 Memphis "buffet ... [more+]

Iconic blues singer Bessie Smith's life was as large and outrageous as her talent. Live it with her as "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith" takes you back to a 1937 Memphis "buffet flat" where the partying, laughter and bawdiness reach a crescendo after Bessie and her band are turned away by a whites-only theater. Starring Miche Braden, reprising the role she originated off-Broadway, the musical is packed with a trove of Bessie's all-time hits, including "I Ain't Got Nobody," "St. Louis Blues" and "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do." Get rowdy with a musical legend when Mosaic Theater Company's production of "The Devil's Music" comes to D.C.'s Atlas Performing Arts Center. [less-]

Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Walking Tour

at US Capitol Building, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, September 24
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
+ 64 more dates
Sun, September 24
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
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Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
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Thu, October 05
Fri, October 06
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Sun, October 08
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Thu, October 12
Fri, October 13
Sat, October 14
Sun, October 15
Mon, October 16
Tue, October 17
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Fri, October 20
Sat, October 21
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Tue, October 24
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Tue, November 07
Wed, November 08
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Fri, November 10
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Sun, November 12
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Tue, November 21
Wed, November 22
Fri, November 24
Sat, November 25
Sun, November 26
Mon, November 27
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Wed, November 29
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FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and le... [more+]

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Workshop of the Powerful "Native Son"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $5

Chicago native Nambi E. Kelley's retelling of Richard Wright's landmark novel re-imagines the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas for a whole new generation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the ... [more+]

Chicago native Nambi E. Kelley's retelling of Richard Wright's landmark novel re-imagines the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas for a whole new generation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the South Side of Chicago, Bigger lands a job in the home of a wealthy white family. Struggling to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out, he unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently seal his fate. Catch this workshop presentation of "Native Son" from Mosaic Theater Company at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. [less-]

Football Heals Heartache in "Any Given Monday"

at Gunston Arts Center, Arlington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
Sat, September 30
FULL PRICE: $25
OFFER PRICE: $15

Lenny is a great guy: a good teacher, an excellent father and a loving husband. So when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario, his life is shattered. While Lenny consoles himself with pizz... [more+]

Lenny is a great guy: a good teacher, an excellent father and a loving husband. So when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario, his life is shattered. While Lenny consoles himself with pizza and Monday Night Football, his best friend Mick takes matters into his own hands. How far is too far to get back to happily-ever-after? Find out when dark comedy "Any Given Monday" touches down at Arlington's Gunston Arts Center. [less-]

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.