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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 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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