’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But, wait! There arose such a clatter—not from the lawn, nor from the roof, but instead from the front room, there came a woof. You bolted out of bed to check on the noise, and discovered your pooch and your cat in cahoots around the toppled Christmas tree. Horrified by the shattered ornaments, sludgy tree-stand water, and flickering lights, you scolded your pets for sneaking into their gifts on Christmas Eve and ruining your most beautiful Christmas tree yet.

Fortunately, your furry pals escaped unscathed from the holiday calamity, but many other pets are not so lucky during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Learn from their mistakes outlined below to ensure your pets stay safe from decor disasters and festive fiascos. 

Calypso’s Christmas tree tragedy

Calypso, an adorable, mischievous kitten, was excited to celebrate her first Christmas. She was dazzled by the flashing lights and glittering tinsel, and completely mesmerized by the way the tree’s ornaments swayed at her touch. She spent hours frolicking in the Christmas tree, zipping up and down with wild abandon, not caring about the numerous ornaments that fell to their deaths on the hard floor. With her cat-like reflexes, she could spring clear of the tree and land safely on the couch, rather than traveling through the minefield of shattered ornaments on the floor. 

Calypso may have avoided cutting her paws, but she wasn’t so lucky when she couldn’t resist the shiny tinsel. Ripping it from the tree, she would roll with the strand, batting and gnawing away, determined to overpower her prey. However, one day Calypso accidentally swallowed part of the tinsel strand. Her owners found their poor kitten with a shiny string hanging from her mouth, hunched over in discomfort. They rushed her to Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, where Dr. Dunham determined that the tinsel had made its way to Calypso’s stomach and she needed emergency surgery. Jumping into action, her team successfully removed the obstruction before the tinsel reached Calypso’s intestinal tract. That reduced her recovery time, although she still required several days of hospitalization before she could comfortably return home. During this time, her owners kitten-proofed their holiday decorations for safety’s sake, blocking access to the alluring tree, and removing all breakable ornaments and tinsel. 

Finn’s dinner woes

Finn’s favorite time of year was the holiday season, as the most delicious foods came from the kitchen. A master of “puppy-dog eyes,” Finn bribed many tasty treats from unsuspecting guests helpless to resist his begging gaze. However, this year, Finn sneaked too many snacks and ended up at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital in their hospital ward.

Finn experienced a double whammy—pancreatitis and chocolate toxicity—and required extensive hospitalization and nursing care to reduce the pancreas’ inflammation and calm his gastrointestinal tract. After his brush with painful pancreatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea, Finn was banished to the bedroom to enjoy his veterinarian-approved holiday meal of boneless, skinless turkey; plain, mashed sweet potato; and fresh green beans. Ham, gravy, stuffing, and chocolate desserts were no longer on Finn’s menu.

Paisley’s party panic

Paisley the tiny Chihuahua was never a fan of parties, but as a 20-something socialite, her mom’s celebrations were never far apart, especially during the holiday season. On New Year’s Eve, Paisley’s typical Chihuahua shiver amped up at the doorbell’s first ring. Toting her tiny pup to the door, Paisley’s mom greeted her guests, smushing her poor dog while handing out tight hugs. Paisley’s anxiety ratcheted up and she began barking frantically, throwing in a growl for good measure. 

Trapped in her mom’s arms, with no opportunity to retreat from the onslaught of party guests, Paisley took drastic action and nipped the next person who came too close. Horrified by Paisley’s behavior, her mom shut her in the bedroom to wait out the party as “punishment.” Paisley, however, was delighted with the turn of events, and hoped this would be her new party hangout. 

At Paisley’s next wellness visit at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, Dr. Tasky pointed out that Paisley seemed anxious when her team approached. Paisley’s mom remembered she had seen the same signs—barking, growling, and trembling—during her New Year’s Eve party, right before Paisley bit the guest. As a Fear Free professional, Dr. Tasky is dedicated to reducing pets’ fear, anxiety, and stress in the hospital and at home, so she coached Paisley’s mom on keeping her dog relaxed during parties. Setting her up in a quiet room with a cozy bed, toys, and a long-lasting treat would go a long way toward calming Paisley at the next party, Dr. Tasky said. And, using Fear Free techniques, Dr. Tasky soon had Paisley snuggled in her arms and enjoying her physical exam.

Pets can get into mischief any time of year, but the holiday season’s commotion and disrupted schedule provides extra opportunities for trouble. If your furry pal gets into a tight spot, call your Gentle Touch Animal Hospital team for help.