Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Annual Holiday Rant - 10 tips to a happier Holiday

Since it's right before Thanksgiving and lots of you will be putting up holiday decorations this weekend, I thought I'd take the plunge and do the "Annual Holiday Rant".

While the holiday season is great for most of us with only moderate blasts of anxiety, stress and over-indulgence, holidays for our pets are full of too many strange things in the house, strange people in the house, food they can't/ shouldn't eat in the house, bad weather that keeps them in the house, being outside too long because we were busy and forgot to let them back into the house, being boarded while the family goes away from the house and a TREE (in the house) that we either climb in the yard (if you're a cat) or urinate on (if you're a dog) that is to be stoically ignored, and so on. As you may have guessed, IN THE HOUSE is a key theme here. That means rugs, carpets and furniture.

Now, more than any other time of year, we are inundated with pet bodily waste related to any or all of the above. Here's some useful hints to help you and your furry family members survive until Spring.

1. Don't let your pet drink the tree water. This seems like great, good common sense but can be harder than it first appears. Use a tree skirt that covers the base, place the packages so pets can't get to the water basin, get a fake tree. When they fill up with it, it needs to go somewhere.... and they'll either vomit or urinate.

2. If you must have decorations on the bottom of your tree, consider plastic or non-breakable ornaments. Tinsel can cause bowel obstructions, broken glass can cut the inside of the mouth and cause internal bleeding. Tinsel on the tree is cute, tinsel in poop isn't. Unless you want to hang it on the tree.

3. Keep light wires away from your pets. Chewing extension cords or lights can have an "electrifying" experience for your pet. You can tape over cords on the floor with 2 inch blue painters non marking tape or cover them with mats.

4. Keep strings, ribbons and wrapping paper picked up and away. Sometimes our pets think that these are toys. String or ribbon can be ingested and will usually reappear in unattractive ways. Wrapping paper dyes can turn bodily wastes interesting colors and can leave permanent stains. Ink pens & felt tips as well.

5. Get out the vacuum cleaner and keep the pine needles cleaned up. These little stinkers get tracked into my house all year round and I have two dogs so I know all about this one. Triple with a Christmas tree and wet weather. When ingested they can cause vomiting or get stuck in the throat.

6. Put the tree in an out of the way place where it won't get knocked over! Just because the tree looks good in the middle of the room or entry just remember that when the basin gets overfilled and Uncle Charlie has a couple of drinks - worlds collide! After the wet spot sits under the tree until sometime in January, turns black with mold and mildew, possibly gets dry rot and smells badly, please don't be surprised that it can't be repaired. Think about anchoring the tree to the wall someplace. Don't hang the cat's catnip or jerkey treats on the tree either, it's an invitation to disaster.

7. Candles. Watch them carefully...wax is a pain to get out and pets are often fascinated by the flickering lights.

8. Pets don't do well with holiday food designed for people. Alcohol, chocolate, candy, neon colored frosting, gingerbread, eggnog, peanuts, popcorn, potato chip dip, smoked salmon......ahhh yes, the list goes on. Also no chicken or turkey bones.

9. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and other holiday plants are poisonous. Both cats and dogs eat grass for their digestion outdoors but don't let them chew on holiday greenery. We'll all be sorry.

10. A calm pet is a good pet. Take your dogs for a short walk or throw a toy, play with your kitty, feed them dinner, let them out for a good long potty break and then let them hang out in a familiar, out of the way room with their favorite blanket and a chew toy when guests arrive. Sometimes the excitement of visitors can prompt accidents of all kinds. If they need to visit, do so after the excitement dies down.

Check with the ASPCA for additional cold weather and holiday tips for your pets.

If you DO have one of those magic "holiday moments" here's a link to Rug Rags online spotting guide or come visit us at Emmanuel's for FREE sample of spotter and a printed spotting guide to keep on hand for emergencies!

There - over for the year. Happy Holidays.



RugloverMary said...

Thank you Thea for posting these reminders. They can be easily forgotten with all the chaos of the holidays. I love having tinsel on my tree, but with 2 dogs and a cat I cannot anymore. It is a small sacarfice since the potenial hazards are far greater. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Seattle rug cleaning said...

We've had so many incidents at home and seen them with clients I could write a book.

One year we hung jerky treats for the cats (we thought, totally sealed) at the top of the tree so they wouldn't be found. 2 AM Christmas morning, there's a crash.

The Golden Retreiver that thought tinsel (the plastic kind) should be sucked down like spaghetti and pooped silver string for the week after Christmas. My kids were highly amused.

The Cairn Terrier that drank the tree water and threw up like nobody's business on the new rug.... and these are MY pets.

Last year we had clients get one of those new felted cable yarn rugs at Christmas, where the individual tufts are about a half inch around. Their dog went insane thinking the floor was being invaded by aliens and ripped giant holes out of the pile! We fixed it, they took it home and the dog totally did it again! They had to get rid of the rug. Every time the rug came in the house the dog started growling........

Stress is not a healthy thing.

Canadian Thanksgiving has some different dates, but I hope that yours was stress free...


Dave said...

Love it. You make some awesome points. It had already been mentioned in I believe number 6. I just wanted to emphasize this one. The dry rot/mildew problem is huge as you mentioned: Not only from the holiday tree, but the regular house plant too. It is such a loss to see a customer take pics of a beautiful rug, but unfortunately has a huge hole in one corner from a potted plant. This will severely affect the value of the rug even if it may "make economic sense" to fix. Awesome job, you're addressing all the important elements, we love it!

Seattle rug cleaning said...

Thanks Dave, the whole flowerpot thing is right on. We see so much damage to an otherwise perfectly fine rug, except for that round spot of damage in the corner. Leaking aquariums are another one.

While they can be repaired, the rug is never completely right again and the client either needs to have another, non-leaking, plant or a piece of furniture on that corner as long as they have the rug.