It’s no secret that Christmas is Sorsha’s favorite holiday. She’s always thinking of others and loves to help wrap presents. With the record-breaking number of delivery drivers out this year, she’s also had plenty of time to practice her Christmas carols by barking at delivery people through the front window. And let us not forget there will be some new toys under the tree on the big day . . .
Even for those of us not celebrating for one reason or another, December still has plenty to offer. No matter what situation you find yourself in this year, if you have a pet by your side, there are plenty of ways to make December full of lightness and joy. Read on to find out how.
National Mutt Day . . . Again
You may remember that back in July, we celebrated National Mutt Day. It is only fitting that a day that celebrates the mixture of two breeds should be celebrated twice a year. That is why December 2 is also National Mutt Day!
Mutts can make great pets as the admixture of traits from different breeds means that they don’t have the same laser focus as purebreds, which are often raised to have specific traits used for hunting or working. These characteristics are great for a dog to have but can result in a hound that can be a lot of work for the average pet owner.
If you are looking for ways to celebrate our mixed breed companions, you could volunteer at a local shelter, donate to a shelter, or even adopt a mutt.
Don’t Treat Them to Treats
Whether it’s Christmas cookies or some traditional fruitcake, December offers a lot of celebratory opportunities for sharing edible goodies. For example, this month contains:
National Cookie Day (December 4)
National Brownie Day (December 8)
Pastry Day (December 9)
Gingerbread House Day (December 12)
National Cocoa Day (December 13)
Ice Cream Day (also December 13) (December 13 is quickly becoming a favorite day)
National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (December 16)
Cookie Exchange Day (December 22)
Fruitcake Day (December 27)
With a list like that, you should be rolling in tasty treats! Just be careful not to share any of it with your pets. Remember, chocolate and other common ingredients in baked goods and sweets can be toxic to dogs.
If you want to include your four-pawed pal in the feasting, consider modifying one of the above holidays. For example, for Cookie Exchange Day, why not do a Pet Toy Tray Exchange Day? It would be a fun and safe way to celebrate with pet parents and their furry family!
As we officially move into Winter during the middle of December, you can be sure to expect colder weather and snow. What better way to stay warm than with a sweater? And what better way to bust out a sweater than at an ugly sweater party?
These gatherings have come into vogue over the past few years and encourage all to wear their worst. If you need to keep things digital, it just means you can jump off camera to come back with an outfit change!
Even better, an ugly sweater party is the perfect type of gathering to be able to include your dog or cat! Many people love dressing up their pets, and now is the time to get creative. Maybe you wear matching outfits. Maybe you do a theme like Santa and Rudolph (or all his reindeer if you have enough of a pack). Who cares if they already have fur? Time to get “ugly” (and competitive)!
Sorsha would like to take the opportunity to remind you that some pets will become agitated when wearing sweaters or other clothing. If they seem bothered or in distress, ditch the duds. Personally, Sorsha thinks that ugly sweaters are undignified and prefers to wear fur-trimmed hats with those silly balls.
Beware Mistletoe . . .
Keeping your distance from mistletoe is important for more than just avoiding unwanted affection. This festive holiday plant is also toxic to humans in large doses.
Furthermore, mistletoe is poisonous to house animals in even small doses. In small quantities, it can cause gastrointestinal distress, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If your dog or cat gets a hold of a bunch of mistletoe, perhaps through some misguided efforts to help you decorate, then it can result in abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, ataxia, seizures, and even death.
To keep the holiday twigs and berries out of the paws of your pets, consider placing them at high elevations throughout the house, like on top of bookshelves or attached to crown moulding. In the unfortunate event that your pet does consume some mistletoe, contact your vet immediately. (Better to be safe and hang the imitation version of mistletoe – besides it lasts year after year.)
Other perpetrators of the poisonous holiday plants for pets list include:
Amaryllis and Daffodils
Be sure to beware when decorating with these types of festive greenery!
. . . But Deck the Halls Anyways
Just because mistletoe and its friends are dangerous doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the natural decorations. They are plenty of traditional holiday plants that are perfectly safe to have around the house.
For example, Christmas Cactus is not poisonous to dogs or humans. The beautiful poinsettia is not a major concern, except that it may give some humans a rash.
And, of course, let us not forget the trusty Christmas Tree. Fake trees are rarely an issue for animals, as they don’t look or smell testy. Neither do real trees, which is a good thing since the needles could be quite uncomfortable if consumed. Additionally, real trees could be toxic if they have been sprayed with flame retardant chemicals. But again, dogs and cats generally won’t be taking a bite out of your tree.
That said, Christmas trees are a perennial battleground for pets and their owners. Cats are notorious for batting at Christmas tree bulbs and other ornaments. Dogs have been known to pull trees down after getting tangled in strands of lights (No, I’m not talking from personal experience, why would you ask)? And let us not forget those joyful occasions when the family dog decides to mark their territory on the festive fir.
Yet all the chaos that comes with decorating the tree makes for good memories. So, bust out the box or drag in a new one, and trim that tree with your family and furry friends.
Happy Boxing Day!
Wishing you a fun, safe and memorable December season.