Deck your Dogs with Boughs of Holly

Its the holidays so I thought I’d discuss our pets and the season. These guys endure a lot from their human counterparts this time of year and they really deserve recognition.

Top 10 ways we humiliate our pets and make their lives miserable at Christmas

-Give them goofy toys shaped like Santa or reindeer when all they want is a new tennis ball or catnip.


This is your fault, human.

-Make them listen incessantly to an endless barrage of Christmas songs on one of the 50 non-stop holiday music radio stations.

-Fill the house with smells of cookies, pies, turkey, and ham and then not allow the pet within 10 feet of the source.


If it's cool I'll just get up on the table and sit uncomfortably close to your plate, mmmm'kay?

-Give them crazy gifts like booties and dreaded gifts like new brushes.

-Force them to pose in the classic family Christmas card picture as they try to wiggle their way loose from the vice grip hold you have on them.


Humans, I am embarrassed for you.

-Make them sit under the mistletoe as everyone at the party kisses and drools all over them.

-Move their nice, cozy, toasty bed and replace it with a tree.


I'll find the tree's weakness and take it down from the inside! Viva la revolution! 

-Throw wrapped gifts that appear as great dog and cat toys under the tree and spend the rest of the day screaming “get away from there!”

-Include them in that strange human tradition: Put them in an ugly Christmas sweater.


Human, you will pay for this great injustice.

-And finally, put fake antlers on their heads and bells around their neck and feet and spend hours cooing about how cute they are while taking photos.

Top 10 ways our pets get even with us during the holiday season

-Always finding the guest at your holiday party that just does not like animals and jumping onto and refusing to move off of their laps while giving them sloppy kisses.


Sometimes the cats take it personally.

-Sneaking nibbles of appetizers off the plates of guests, especially the ones that don’t like animals.

-Tearing open the wrapped candy and cookie gifts.


I did it and I'm not sorry. That peppermint was delicious.

-Dogs walking under and near the tree, wagging their tail, and managing to knock off all the really fragile ornaments.


It was the cat, I swear.

-Kitties going on search and destroy missions when they decide that all the pretty ribbons look just like rodent tails. Or on a similar note, taking the end of the ribbon on a roll and unravelling it while running through the house.

-Refusing to allow the fake antlers to stay on top of their head and walk around with them hanging below their head like a beard so they look like a weird version an inebriated Santa.


This Christmas thing isn't that much fun anymore.

-Do their version of the movie “A Christmas Story,”  running through the house carrying the whole cooked turkey in their mouth.

-Having the kitty climb to the top of tree while one of the kids yells TIMBERRRRR.


-The cat and dog taking turns peeing on the tree (another reason to neuter your pets).

-Letting the dog in from its morning constitutional  as everyone is getting ready to open gifts and finding its found that dead carcass or deer poop to roll in.

On a more serious note, here’s a list of precautions to take this time of year with your pets

-Yeah, you can give the dog a little nibble from the table for a holiday treat.  But do not overindulge. Sudden changes in diets or offering rich and fatty foods can at the very least lead to a transient loose stool and at worst cause a severe pancreatitis.

-Do not leave wrapped candy/cookie gifts under the tree. A dog’s sniffer is powerful and they will find it and eat it, sometimes wrapping and ribbons included. This could have serious consequences.

-We cannot hound (forgive the pun) on this enough: chocolate in large volumes is toxic to dogs.  But please, a little common sense. A ninety pound labrador eating a Hershey’s bar  is not going to have a major problem. However, a miniature schnauzer eating half a dark chocolate cake is in serious danger.

-Puppies will eat anything. The wrapping on gifts appear as great toys and maybe something to eat.

-Make sure that those crazy antlers or neck bells or sweaters do not have any loose hanging strings, ropes or straps that the dog or cat can get get tangled in. Also, do not dress up your pets and leave them unsupervised. Dress up, take a quick picture for everyone to giggle at, then put away the costumes until next year.

-Christmas really is not a time to give puppies or kittens as gifts. These decisions require much research and should be done after the holidays.

-However, if you do get a new puppy or kitten beware, despite your joy, they are under immense stress. This can lead to low blood sugars that can be life threatening. Make sure they eat.

-We have cold weather this time of year. So with all the holiday activity, don’t forget that little guy you let outside in the middle of your party.

-Despite all the festivities, this can be a very stressful time for your pet, especially if it’s the first Christmas. Furniture has been moved around, strangers in and out, crazy boxes and decorations throughout the house, and a tree, of all things, has been brought IN THE HOUSE, set up and decorated with all sorts of strange things they aren’t allowed to play with.  

-This can cause a lot of anxiety, especially in the little guys. The anxiety can lead to a whole array of abnormal behaviour. So beware and give them extra attention.

-Finally, you’ve heard it before and now you’re going to hear it again. Don’t put tinsel, or for that matter any stringy ornaments, or garland low enough on the tree that the cat and puppy can reach.  It might not look as nice, but it sure beats that $2000.00 veterinary bill to surgically resect out the tinsel that is strung down the cat’s entire intestinal tract.

So enjoy your holidays. And enjoy the privilege of having a pet.  And here is a bonus top 10 list.

Top 10 joys of having a pet  during the holidays

-Having that tail wagging, greeting all of your holiday guests.

-Watching him/her gnaw on that new chew toy all day long.

-Frolicking in the snow in the new warm sweater.

-Nuzzling with concern as you cry for the umteenth time watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

-Watching the cat and dog snuggling up with each while sleeping under the tree.

-Watching the fun as you finally give a wrapped gift that squeaks and they can tear it apart without hearing NO.

-Being greeted happily and helping you cope with all the stresses that come with this time of year.

-Feeling the cat purr in your lap while it sleeps on Christmas eve, dreaming about those mice from The Night Before Christmas.

-Actually allowing those antlers to stand up while your guests marvel over how cute and well behaved your pet is.


You're welcome. Now give me some ham.

-Knowing as a new year arrives that your companion is with you through all that looms ahead.  

-Unquestioned devotion and love, that’s what they’re all about.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year.

Oh and of course, Happy Festivus! From Dr. Miller, and the staff of Lifetime Pet Centers!


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