reindeer

Reindeer, Poinsettias and Mistletoe: Myths and Facts for the Holiday Season!

It is Christmas time and with it comes the precautions that we must observe to protect our pets.

cat under the tree

One sometimes overlooked precaution is to pick up after your party, before you go to bed. I don’t mean do all the dishes but pick up the food and drinks and put them in the trash or pantry where they are up and out of the way from your pets. Animals are curious and while you are sleeping in, they may decide to investigate just what the fun you had the night before was all about.

Considerations for the Holidays with Children and Pets

  • Batteries are in EVERYTHING! They are in toys, greeting cards, electronic devices, flameless candles, and remote controls can cause serious injury if pets (or humans) swallow them. Internal burns can occur in a very short time.
  • Magnets are dangerous to animals and children. Keep them up and away from both.
  • DO NOT use Christmas tree preservative in the Christmas tree stand. Normally, the commercial tree preservative is more safe than the homemade preservatives which sometimes call for bleach or other caustic/hazardous chemicals. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends that you use just plain water. Your tree and your pets will survive the holiday season just fine with good old H2O.
  • Pets can choke on tinsel, ribbons, and Christmas tree needles. They can be cut by broken ornaments. We keep our tree ornaments on the top two-thirds of the tree because Tucker and Poppy reach the bottom third. We have a Tucker Tail Line where his tail wipes ornaments off, so we don’t put any ornaments below that line.
  • Watch your pets carefully before you leave them alone with your decorations. We had a cat that attacked our tree and tore the lights off. He entangled the lights over and around the furniture and overturned lamps. I think that he must have gotten an electric shock and then went crazy in retribution and in order to subdue the enemy.
  • Most of the time your pets will show signs of curiosity that will give you clues about what they will do when you leave them alone. Also, today, if you see them getting into mischief when you are away, put the plant or decoration up and out of the way.
  • Poinsettia is not a deadly plant, despite frequent warnings in the media. However, the sap from poinsettia plants can be very irritating. Pets who chew on poinsettia can develop skin rashes and mouth irritation. If they swallow the plant, they could have stomach upset and discomfort.
  • Mistletoe is two kinds: American (nontoxic) and European (toxic). I found several articles that go into great depth about what and how poisonous both are. My recommendation is to but artificial mistletoe. It is reusable and non-toxic. George Washington University says that American mistletoe isn’t toxic but the other voices speak with such authority, why bother? You can get your kisses as easily with artificial mistle toe as with real and you don’t have to worry.
  • Holly leaves are prickly and can cause injury if a pet tries to eat them.
  • Holly berries can be poisonous; they easily dry up and fall onto the floor where pets (and children) can find them.
  • Chocolate! We discussed this at Halloween. Put it up and keep it up.
  • Alcoholic beverages and chocolate are among the foods which pets should not consume. Empty the glasses and store left-overs safely so pets won’t consume the drinks or develop food poisoning.
  • Medicines are poisonous to pets. For example, small amounts of over-the-counter pain relievers can be fatal to cats and dogs. Even if your own medicines are stored safely, be aware that visitors may have medicines in their purses or suitcases. Provide a place for these things to be stored safely, out of sight and reach of pets (and children).

If your pet swallows a battery, take the animal to the vet right away! It is NOT OK to wait. If your pet seems ill after getting into any kind of food or decoration, call your vet right away.

If you have questions about something your pet may have swallowed,

Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

MIstletoe!?

Mistletoe is commonly thought of as dangerous to our pets but that is a matter of mistaken identity for the most part: there are two types of evergreen shrubs called mistletoe: the American mistletoe or

Phoradendron serotinum) and European mistletoe (Viscum album).

Abundant literature and folklore describe the European variety’s herbal, mythical, and medicinal history. Poisonings and deaths have been reported from ingestion of European mistletoe. American mistletoe’s toxic reputation is probably guilt by association because it has the same common name as its European relative.

The reason that the European mistletoe is often said to be poisonous is because it is made into tea, not because it is eaten by children or pets. However, it is poison.

Just buy plastic mistletoe and you don’t have to worry about your pets or your children.

It is Christmas time and with it comes the precautions that we must observe to protect our pets.

Mistletoe is commonly thought of as dangerous to our pets but that is a matter of mistaken identity for the most part: there are two types of evergreen shrubs called mistletoe: the American mistletoe or

Phoradendron serotinum) and European mistletoe (Viscum album).

Abundant literature and folklore describe the European variety’s herbal, mythical, and medicinal history. Poisonings and deaths have been reported from ingestion of European mistletoe. American mistletoe’s toxic reputation is probably guilt by association because it has the same common name as its European relative.

The reason that the European mistletoe is often said to be poisonous is because it is made into tea, not because it is eaten by children or pets. However, it is poison.

Just buy plastic mistletoe and you don’t have to worry about your pets or your children.

Now some fun!!!

I read several varying accounts about reindeer and I think that they became part of our Christmas tradition because Clement C. Moore wrote The Night Before Christmas in 1894. It wasn’t anything to do with promotion Alaskan reindeer farming which happened and failed in the 1920s.

I found that it was very interesting that Donder (or Donner) and Blitzen began as Dunder and Blixen. These are the Dutch and German words for Thunder and Lightening. Thor, the Norse god road a chariot that was pulled by goats that changed into reindeer.

Reindeer also are well known as far better than any other animal in the arctic for pulling sledges. They are amphibious; able to pull things through water and across land. They are trainable and were used on battlefields to pull both artillery and rescue wounded from the battlefields. They even pulled disabled planes to safety.

They aren’t hardy when it comes to moving however and they must rest every few days for a a few days when they are being herded from one place to another. They also do NOT do well being transported. When they were transported on the train in World War II, they fell ill and some ran away when they disembarked. One of their primary difficulties is their food. They prefer their native food which is lichens.

Today, people who raise reindeer buy lichens that are harvested in Lapland to feed their herds.

Which brings us to a myth that may be important to children throughout the world: they don’t have top incisors. The only reindeer who like carrots are Santa’s reindeer.

Reindeer are a member of the deer family. They are cousins of the caribou. They have antlers and they shed their antlers. Male and female reindeer aren’t on the same timetable with their antlers however. The older males usually shed their antlers in November/early December after their mating/fighting season.

Females and younger males keep their antlers through the winter. The antlers act as shovels to uncover food for the reindeer. Females are generally pregnant during the winter and they need to keep nourished. Early man watched the reindeer and discovered plants that were helpful for people too.

Earliest man believed that reindeer took them to heaven. Their elaborate antlers stretched back and their legs stretched as if flying have been found in graves and in paintings for thousands of years. A professor has explained why they have the reputation of being able to fly: they are great leapers. They can leap very long distances, which, if viewed from a long distance may look as if they are flying.

We, who believe in flying reindeer and Santa, know that the real reason that they fly is a combination of magic and the special food that children leave out for them on Christmas eve.

The Flying Reindeer Flight Recipe:

½ cup raw oatmeal

1 teaspoon of your favorite sprinkles

Mix up and leave in a cup beside Santa’s cookies.

If you live in the woods, you can give them a lichen from a tree but they are just as happy with birdseed or oatmeal and sprinkles. (I am too!)

Merry Christmas! Best wishes for the New Year!!


Holiday sale happening now! Click it!

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/reindeer-battalion-wwii-braver-soviets-tougher_tanks.html

https://youtu.be/4G58Uyc33do The Oregon Zoo Flying Reindeer youtube

https://www.poison.org/articles/2011-dec/pets-and-holiday-hazards

Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous reading
Reindeer, Poinsettias and Mistletoe: Myths and Facts for the Holiday Season!
Next reading
Its time to give thanks!
0