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If You Have Pets, Do These 4 Things Before the Holidays

updated Nov 21, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

Pets love routine, and the holidays are anything but. Suddenly there are new house guests, an ornate tree in the living room, and a Santa hat they’re expected to don for family photos. Amidst all the (human) activity, it can be easy to forget that your pets, and their messes, might need a little extra attention this time of year. No worries: With some simple prep and cleaning tricks, everyone in your house can enjoy the season.

1. Decorate with Your Pet in Mind

If you’ve already been through a holiday season with your pets, you likely have useful intel to make this year a success. If you have a new pet, watch how they react and adjust accordingly. Are they freaked out by that inflatable Rudolph? Barking at the Elf on the Shelf? Does the cat keep scampering off with ornaments? Avoid hanging any decorations too low to the ground, nix tinsel and poinsettias (they’re poisonous!), and don’t leave edible presents under the tree. If your animals have a bit too much, ah, holiday spirit, consider protecting your tree with a baby gate or downsizing to a tabletop tree.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

2. Streamline Clean Up

Tackling pet messes and odors can be A Whole Thing — exactly what you don’t have time for during the holidays. The Shark Hydrovac™ XL 3-in-1 Vacuum, Mop & Self-Cleaning System gets the job done fast without sacrificing cleaning power. With simultaneous powerful suction and high-speed mopping, it cleans wet and dry messes in no time, with an odor-neutralizing cleaning concentrate that’s safe on hard floors and area rugs. And your newly cleaned floor is ready to walk on almost immediately, so there’s no break in the festivities.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

3. Nip Messes in the Bud

Trust a dog owner with a muddy backyard: Pet towels will change your life. Hang one on a hook by the door to wipe dirty paws and keep one in the car for on-the-go messes. You’ll be shocked at how much less dirt shows up on your floors and furniture. And if you’re staying with family or hosting guests, consider keeping pee pads on hand. Even house-trained animals can have accidents in a new environment.

4. Be Extra Careful About Food That’s Sitting Out

From appetizer spreads to cooling cookies, there’s a lot more food around during the holidays. Just like the rest of the year, keep dishes with problem ingredients like chocolate, raisins, and onions well out of pets’ reach. Let visitors know the house rules about “people food” — even if it’s permitted, it can be easy for animals to accidentally get over-fed in a busy party situation. Instead, maybe leave a (clearly marked!) jar of treats out for guests who just can’t resist those puppy dog eyes.

Lastly, pay special attention to your cooking and baking areas. Keep bags of flour and sugar sealed to avoid messes your pets might try to eat. If something does tip over, the Shark Hydrovac™ can help with that, too: Thanks to its self-clean mode, it’s always ready to go.