Sunday, November 6, 2016

Are Your Holiday Decorations Safe For Your Children and Pets?

Yes, the holidays are coming! Every year they seem to come upon us faster than an out-of-control freight train.

As the delicious aroma of cookies and pies baked with cinnamon and nutmeg fill your home, and you pull your holiday decorations out of the attic or garage, stop a moment before you decorate. If you have children or animals running around the house, especially the young ones that are rambunctious, please take care. Some ornaments may be dangerous for your pets. Let me share.

Years ago, right before the holidays, I met a lovely couple in a pet shelter here in LA. They were shopping for a new kitty, but were very sad. We struck up a conversation, and I soon learned the reason for their grief stricken faces. The couple had just put up their Christmas tree, and topped it off with a lovely layer of shiny, metallic tinsel. Well, their kitty loved playing with all the bright, sparkling ornaments. She got a hold of that eye-catching tinsel, and away she chewed, and swallowed.

Well, by the time they discovered something was terribly wrong with her and rushed her to the vets, it was too late. The x-rays revealed irreparable damage to her little intestines. The owners were devastated. It was too late to save her. In shock and with broken hearts, they had to put her down.  I had no idea tinsel was so potentially lethal!

I will never forget this couple’s story. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else’s pet. The first Christmas I had with my new kitten I was very careful to hang ornaments I called “baby proof.” Long gone were the days my tree was adorned with tinsel. If my cat batted the ornaments off the tree and chewed them, I knew he would come to no harm.

So I share this story with all animal lovers. Let’s all take extra care when we decorate this holiday season and the ones to come. Check the decorations and ornaments for safety. Keep those light bulbs and twinkling lights away from your animals, especially those playful pups and kittens. We all know how puppies love to chew, and kitties love to climb Christmas trees. If you aren’t sure if your grandmother’s beautiful antique ornaments are harmful, double check. Are they dangerous if chewed or swallowed? Are they in harms way hanging on the tree? Maybe they would be better in a bowl or basket on the mantel, out of reach. Check that shiny garland. Is it metallic? Replace it with something non-metallic. The Poinsettia plants that are so beautiful around the fireplace? They are highly toxic if chewed. Not just for your pets, but babies also. Give serious thought to moving them out of reach.

Looking to replace your ornaments?  Big Lots has "shatterproof" bulbs that are lovely, and  are very inexpensive.  Target is another go-to place at this time of year.  It cost me very little to replace all my potentially harmful decorations. With a bit of ingenuity and creativity I was able to still decorate while providing a safe and festive environment.

I love the holidays. Decorating can help lift the spirits, especially in these difficult times. Enjoy them! Give yourself and your family peace of mind knowing your animals and babies will come to no harm.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season! Let the decorating begin!

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