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Have the Happiest of Holidays With Your ESA

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And while everyone is bustling about with shopping, baking, stringing lights, and singing carols, we can’t forget to include our furry companions in the holiday cheer! There are always things to be concerned about when it comes to safety, but also when it comes to making sure your psychological service dog or Official ESA is included in the festivities. Here are some things to make this season fun for you and your dog or cat as we head into decorating and celebrating with the ones we love.

Safety first!

One of the biggest things to keep your PSD or ESA happy during the holidays is to maintain routine. Animals are creatures of habit and breaking their routines can be very easy during this busy time of year. Make sure to keep your pet’s diet and routine as stable as possible to reduce their stress. 

While keeping that routine is important, things get a little different in your home when you introduce garland, lights, and entire trees where your animal is used to roaming freely. Here are some things to remember during this season to be sure your animal doesn’t get into the trimmings and letting their curiosity get the best of them.

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is secured. Cats and dogs love to get into them and could knock them over causing all kinds of problems such as injury or property damage. Also, place breakable ornaments higher up on your tree so that they don’t get knocked off by an accidental tail wag or a mesmerized kitty.
  • Speaking of that tail, make sure no candles are in the reach of an excitable dog with their tail all a flutter in holiday excitement. We’ve all seen videos of cats slowly pushing the cup of water to the edge of the table or counter to watch it fall. Make sure they don’t have the ability to do that with a candle.
  • Lighting up your home is a fun tradition, but could pose dangers for a teething pup or kitten that love to chew anything they can get their teeth around. Make sure those cords are secured and covered so that your animals can’t get into them.
  • Holiday plants can also pose a risk to your animals. Be aware that holly berries and mistletoe are poisonous to cats and dogs (and humans for that matter). Keep them away from your pets or avoid them altogether. Poinsettias are another common holiday plant that can be an issue for your pets. These plants contain a sap in their leaves that will irritate their skin and is dangerous if consumed. Your cat or dog most likely won’t eat enough to be poisoned, but they can get ill from nibbling them.

If you encounter any of the issues above, make sure to get your animal seen immediately by a veterinarian. Always be sure to have your vets number stored in your phone for any emergencies that may pop up.

So now that you’re aware of some of the things to be mindful of with decorating and safety, let’s talk about having some fun this holiday with your service animal. And what better way to help our animals celebrate than pet treats. Read below on how to celebrate the holiday season with your pet as well as food safety tips and how to make your own treats.

Foods to avoid for furry friends

Keep in mind that the food you enjoy during the holidays is not the same as what your PSD or Official ESA should enjoy. Some foods could leave your pet sick so let’s not ruin the season with a sick pup or kitty. Since you’re unlikely to successfully eliminate this whole list from your menu, be sure to keep these foods out of your animal’s reach for their safety. Here’s a list of foods your animals should avoid:

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions, garlic, leeks and shallots
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Raw fish (cats)
  • Caffeine
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chicken bones

Now that you know what your PSD or ESA shouldn’t eat during the holidays (and the rest of the year, for that matter) let’s talk about how your animal can enjoy the festive season! Most likely, you have go-to treats for your service animal throughout the year, but this is a time you can think about offering them something extra special. 

If you’re going to buy pre-made treats, consider shopping at a local pet shop that offers seasonal, specialty treats and be happy to know you’re supporting a local business as well! If you’re feeling creative, it’s a great time to try your hand at homemade treats as a sweet way of thanking your service animal for all their love and support. Here’s why we think making your own treats is a great idea!

Care for your pet’s weight. We all are at risk of putting on that extra holiday weight and our animals are no different. They naturally put on some weight during the colder months for warmth but you can accidentally add some extra pounds to them by the types of treats you give them. Treats are often filled with fat, sugar and other elements that your pet doesn’t need to stay healthy. If your pet needs to lose weight or avoid gaining weight, you can ensure they get a tasty treat without all the extra fat and sugar when you make it yourself. 

Save money. Pet treats can be expensive, especially if they’re specialty treats. Homemade treats are a great and easy way to save some money while avoiding fat, preservatives and chemicals that you may not want them to eat.

You can mix it with love. Making your own treats for your animal is a sweet way to show them you care. When you make pet treats yourself, you know exactly what’s going in them as well as what isn’t. So you can skip the preservatives and add an extra dose of love. Here are some tasty recipes that you can use to make this holiday season yummy and safe for your PSD or ESA. 

So eat, drink and be merry! Enjoy your holiday season and make it memorable for you and your beloved service animal. Using the tips above should make this a fun and safe time of the year for everyone in your home.

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