This is the time of year when St. Louis pet owners start to hear reminders that the holidays usher in Danger Season for family pets. It isn’t only that Fido is liable to pull the Christmas tree into the fireplace or that Puss’s snow globe attack carries the danger of swallowing the antifreeze inside it. More prominently, St. Louis pet owners are warned to steer clear of holiday plants and berries “because they’re deadly” for cats and dogs.

Such warnings serve to remind everyone that family pets can interact with the strange new decorations in unpredictable ways. When conscientious dog and cat lovers first bring a new puppy or kitten into the house, they are careful to keep potentially dangerous objects up and out of the way—as we do for human babies. We “childproof” everything at first—until the growing child has demonstrated appropriate levels of common sense about household dangers. 

Perhaps because of that example, we may tend to lower our guard once an animal has passed infancy and made peace with the home environment. But that’s not taking into account that, unlike little humans, pets don’t understand the meaning of Christmas or Hanukkah—only that something alien is invading their corner of the world. They can decide that the brightly festooned holiday gear looks tasty. Or threatening. Or just worth climbing onto/jumping up on/chomping into.

So the holiday pet warnings should be welcome for reminding everyone that this is the season to think twice about our four-footed family members before we install the festive paraphernalia. Yes, mistletoe (especially European imports) can be toxic; but no, poinsettias aren’t poisonous. If WebMD.com is to be believed, that myth belongs in the same category as Santa Claus, flying reindeer, “and the belief that there’s a toy workshop in the North Pole.” The best approach is to use cautious common sense about anchoring the tree or judging the height for hanging shiny, kitty-come-hither decorations. 

And if your holiday planning will include preparation for listing your St. Louis home in 2020, I’ll be manning the phones to discuss plans of action. Call anytime! 636.329.4100