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.

Advertisement
Visit The Metro Weekly Store

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.

[ninja-inline id=73197]

Metro Weekly Discount Tickets & Offers!

Online Tai Chi Classes with Dave Burgett

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Monday, August 31
  • Activities & Competitions
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes
  • Top Rated

Often described at "meditation in motion," Tai Chi's gentle movements will calm your mind and enhance your body. Dave Burgett -- a Seventh-Degree Black Belt -- will lead you through a basic form to im... Read more

Summer Art Camp -- Online

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Friday, August 28
  • Online & At Home
  • Family
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Each session is a unique project, sign up for one or for multiples! Mondays are featured artist day where we explore the work of different artist, their paintings, their style and techniques. Tuesdays... Read more

Comedy 4 Teens Online Classes

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Sunday, August 30
  • Comedy
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Develop creative writing and performance skills while discovering your inner comedic genius! Walt Frasier and his team at EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH bring their popular Times Square program online to the e... Read more

Comedy 4 Kids Online Classes

Online,
Monday, August 10 - Sunday, August 30
  • Online & At Home
  • Family
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Develop creative writing and performance skills while discovering your inner comedic genius! Walt Frasier and his team at EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH bring their popular Times Square program online to the e... Read more

Sweet Potato Music: Online Music Class

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Monday, November 30
  • Music
  • Online & At Home
  • Family

Join Sweet Potato Music from your own home for a 35-minute musical adventure! Sweet Potato Music is a highly interactive music class featuring all original music with a focus on real musical learning ... Read more

Monday Night MarshStream -- Online

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Monday, August 31
  • Theater
  • Free
  • Online & At Home

Like many theaters in our community, The Marsh has postponed all in-person shows until further notice. But that won’t stop Monday Night Marsh from continuing to feature unique works-in-progress. Mon... Read more

"Songs from an Unmade Bed" Livestream

Livestream,
Monday, August 10
  • Theater
  • Hot
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10

Tony Award winner BD Wong and videographer Richert Schnorr are re-conceiving the theatrical song cycle "Songs from an Unmade Bed" as a collection of music videos, reflecting life during the COVID-19 p... Read more

"Improv 4 Kids": Online Edition

Online Event,
Monday, August 10 - Monday, August 31
  • Comedy
  • Foodie
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10

It's not often that you hear the phrases "family friendly" and "improv comedy" in the same sentence, but that's exactly what you get with this fun and funny show. "Improv 4 Kids" goes online with an e... Read more

"Heathers: The Musical" -- Livestream

Livestream,
Monday, August 10 - Thursday, August 27
  • Theater
  • Hot
  • Online & At Home

Teen angst sure feels deadly, but it doesn't normally come with an actual body count. Things are a little different at Westerberg High, where the Heathers rule with perfectly manicured iron fists. "He... Read more

Swing University: A Guide to Jazz

Live Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Friday, August 14
  • Free
  • Music
  • Hot
  • Online & At Home
  • Lectures & Classes

Swing University will help you become a better listener. Our talented faculty will introduce you to sounds new and classic, illuminating the music’s history and placing it within a modern context. B... Read more

Reality Fit Club: Live Online Fitness Classes

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10 - Friday, September 11
  • Hot
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Legs, arms, tummy, booty -- no matter which part of the body you're looking to whip into shape, Reality Fit Club's got a fun routine in store for you. With their series of high-energy online workouts,... Read more

"The Seth Concert Series": Liz Callaway + Seth Rudetsky -- Online

Online Stream,
Monday, August 10
  • Theater
  • Music
  • Online & At Home

From Grizabella to Anastasia, Liz Callaway always manages to give iconic performances whether she’s on the stage or screen. For Seth Rudetsky’s virtual concert series, she’ll take you on an exci... Read more

Prime Time Comedy Presents Monday Night Live -- Online

Zoom Stream,
Monday, August 10
  • Free
  • Hot
  • Comedy
  • Online & At Home

New York's top and up-and-coming comedians perform weekly.... Read more

Tasting with T: Wine 101 Online

Virtual Class,
Tuesday, August 11 - Saturday, August 29
  • Foodie
  • Online & At Home

Wine 101 with Tuanni. Virtual Wine Class from Home. It's a new day with new ways! Time to learn about wine from the comfort of your own home. That's right Tuanni of Zuri Wine Tasting is sharing knowle... Read more

Virtual 30-Minute Meditation by BOTI Studios

Zoom Stream,
Tuesday, August 11 - Thursday, September 10
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Stress levels have risen to new heights. One way to increase your focus and boost your immunity is through meditation. Whether you're experienced or have never practiced before, take these 30 minutes ... Read more

Online Art Class: Draw, Paint, Create! Art @PAINTLAB

Zoom Streaming Session,
Tuesday, August 11
  • Activities & Competitions
  • Online & At Home
  • Under $10
  • Lectures & Classes

Join us for some fun in making art from the comfort of your home! Painting, drawing and mixed media classes to suit every budding artist from ages 12 - 99. All levels of experience are welcome. Learn ... Read more

Virtual Brown Bag Lecture: The Skin Quilt Project

Online,
Tuesday, August 11
  • Free
  • Online & At Home
  • Added This Week
  • Lectures & Classes

Join the Dallas Historical Society online as Dr. Lauren Cross discusses her documentary, "The Skin Quilt Project" -- a documentary that explores colorism in the African-American community. The film ad... Read more

Broward Center's Spotlights Sing -- Online

Online,
Tuesday, August 11 - Sunday, August 30
  • Theater
  • Free
  • Hot
  • Online & At Home

Take an escape from your daily routine with Broadway tunes sung by students from our Broward Center’s Spotlights class. With thanks to our partners at University of Miami Health System for bringing ... Read more

Playbill Social Selects: Perfect Pairings -- Online Wine Tasting

Online Event,
Tuesday, August 11 - Tuesday, August 25
  • Foodie
  • Online & At Home
  • Added This Week

Learn which wines pair best with your favorite Broadway shows and deepen your knowledge about wine in general with hosts/sommeliers Anna-Christina Cabrales and Brian Carl Long.... Read more

Birdland Jazz Club Virtual Concert Series - David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band

Livestream,
Tuesday, August 11
  • Music
  • Online & At Home
  • Added This Week

Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion ... Read more

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

Shelf Wood
Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

Leave a Comment:

Like What You're Reading?

Get Metro Weekly's Daily Email