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Woof Wednesday: Pet Proof Christmas & Broken Memories

198/365/928 (December 26, 2010) - Peaceable Kingdom at Christmas

Holiday homes become pet playgrounds at this time of year. Cats delight in un-decking the halls and climbing the tree. Dogs eat decorations and baptize the tree. The result is a holiday that’s anything but merry. My latest Paw Nation article addresses some of the most common holiday safety issues for pets with how to pet proof your holiday.

Dogs and especially puppies chew nearly anything, including plants. Cats rarely eat plants, but they do claw them and then lick/groom away the residue. Fireplaces offer extra warmth and atmosphere to holiday gatherings, but can prompt singed whiskers or burned paws.

Gobbling any sort of candy may cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. But some food items can actually kill your pet.

Holiday trees pose additional challenges for pet families. Refer to these tips to keep your pets safe and your holiday happy.

If you’re planning to board your dogs over the holidays, I urge you to keep him safe with proper vaccinations for kennel cough. You can learn more here about this highly contagious disease in my latest puppy-licious article here.

The holidays is an awful time of year to run short of funds for pet care. For those wanting to make a big difference in the lives of needy pet owners–and their pets–perhaps you’d like to donate to a Good Samaritan fund for vet care help. Or maybe you need a little extra help this year. Here’s a list of several organizations that will help you with vet bills.


Holidays mean memories and damage to “things” may matter more at this time of year than others. My grandmother always displayed a gorgeous white porcelain nativity each year. That nativity symbolized for me all-good-things about Grandma’s house and Christmas–good food, happy reunions, presents, and love shared by our close-nit family. So when Grandma died, I was blessed to keep her Nativity and continue to display it in my own home.

When Seren-kitty arrived, I was nervous about her rambunctious behavior around the Holy Family. But it wasn’t until a decade later that the worst happened while my husband played his nightly fetch game with the dog–it could have been me, so there’s no blame here. The Magical-Dawg’s ball ricocheted off of the delicate nativity and managed to behead Joseph and lop off Mary’s hand.Sounds funny, right?

I had a melt down. You probably could hear my scream for miles and the sobs lasted days. It wasn’t just china, a THING damaged. It was my personal Christmas, my Grandma, childhood happy times–shattered.

Eventually I stopped crying. There was no question of replacing the pieces–they’re hard to find and besides, it was THAT nativity that meant everything to me. We did find a restoration expert able to give Mary back her hand and replace Joseph’s head right in time for the next Christmas. So this weekend, Grandma’s Nativity once again will add to our personal traditions and holiday happiness.

And the Magical-Dawg’s games of fetch are suspended until after New Year’s, at least inside the house! Hey, it wasn’t the dog’s fault. But it’s up to us humans to protect what’s important to us–not just our pets but our memories.

What do you do to keep your Christmas memories safe from doggy damage? Does the baby-gate-of-despair keep the tree and poochie free from harm? Have you ever “lost your head” over holiday damage?

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About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

5 responses »

  1. Christmas is the one time of year I don’t miss cats. Mine used to hide under the tree as though I placed it there as their new battleground, and I spend many nights rewrapping presents.

    When I was kid, my cat at home was so wild my mom TIED THE TREE with string to the curtain tiebacks, lol.

  2. It may sound sad but I don’t decorate for Christmas. I used to have a tree and a nativity and a few other things but then I worried so much about them it wasn’t worth it. Then one year I had an entire litter of kittens to tear things down. It was the last time I put up anything. I feel that I have plenty of Christmas spirit even without the decorations.

  3. Pingback: Blog Treasures 12-17 « Gene Lempp's Blog

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