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8 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

8 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

Even though we love to deck the halls, raise toasts, and gather loved ones around warm hearths, our furry family members don’t always share the same affection for the holiday season.

Make sure your pets feel included—and stay safe—during the holidays with these eight must-do pet safety tips.

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1. Establish House Rules

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and that means lots of friends and family dropping by, staying over and entering your pet’s domain. To keep everyone merry, establish some basic house rules for visitors who may not be used to living with animals. Let your guests know when and how they can best lavish attention on your pet. If your pup is easily overstimulated, ask guests to give her space. If she loves making new friends, encourage extra belly rubs. Also, be clear about how your pet gets along with other animals and small children—this way everyone will be sure to have a happy holiday.

2. Decide on Safe Spaces

Sometimes we all need a little time to ourselves. With the hubbub of the holidays, your four-legged friends can benefit from knowing there’s a quiet place where they can safely get away from the action. Provide a cozy spot for your kitty to take a snooze—and don’t forget to include his favorite toy and a festive bowl of fresh water. You can provide your dog or cat with a crate, or give them their own room if possible, where they can stay safe and sane amidst all the festivities.

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3. Secure Your Tree

Nothing invokes holiday spirit like a splendidly dressed tree, but these bedazzled icons can be dangerous for an overly curious kitty or rambunctious pup. Secure your tree to keep it from tipping and falling over. A stable tree also prevents spilled water, which can be filled with chemicals and byproducts that may hurt your pet if ingested. You also want to avoid hazardous trimmings like tinsel, as they can become choking hazards or lead to blocked digestive tracts.

4. A Second Pair of Eyes

Whether you’re hosting Christmas dinner or heading out of town for Hanukkah, chances are your best friends will be on their own more than usual during the holidays. Banish any worries you might have with a home security system that includes cameras, perimeter alerts, and remote-viewing capabilities. This way you can keep an eye on—and even interact with—your beloved animals no matter where you are. Most security systems let you tune in via smartphone, tablet, or any computer with internet access so you can always make sure your pet’s safe.

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5. Fence in Flames

If you plan to roast your chestnuts on an open fire this holiday season, you want to make sure your dog or cat can enjoy the warm glow without getting hurt. Place all candles in stable holders and put them where pets can’t accidentally knock them over. Always use a fireplace screen and never leave candles or fires unattended.

6. Provide Healthy Handouts

With so much yummy food around, Fido is bound to catch a dropped piece of fruitcake or potatoes. Make sure she doesn’t put on extra holiday weight—or eat something that could make her sick—by asking guests to refrain from sharing table scraps. Instead, provide healthy, safe snacks that guests can give her when it’s time for a treat.

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7. Travel Safely

You probably don’t want to ring in the new year without your best friend, but holiday travel can be even worse for our pets. Make travel safe and comfy for your furry friends by giving them a safe, anchored space where they can’t distract a driver or roam into danger. If you’re going on a road trip, plan several rest stops on your itinerary and talk to your vet about safe solutions for motion sickness and anxiety.

8. Avoid Harmful Seasonal Greenery

Many of the season’s most abundant flora and fauna are harmful to pets. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias all pose risks to your four-legged family members. If you can’t resist the lure of traditional holiday greens, opt for silk plants or seek out a pet-safe arrangement of less harmful plants in bright reds, greens, and whites. Tulips and roses are fragrant, beautiful alternatives that you and your pets can safely enjoy.

The holidays are a time for giving, celebrating, and drawing loved ones near. Make sure your canine and feline friends remain safe and happy by taking these thoughtful safety precautions this holiday season.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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