Holiday safety for pets: keeping FiFi and Ruffus safe

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KittyWhile people are ho-ho-ho-ing and hustling and bustling, pets may not be as enamored with the holiday season as their human counterparts. That’s because, amid the blur of activities that fill the season, there are potential sources of stress and dangers to pets.

What can be so dangerous about holiday festivities and decorations? A lot, according to veterinarians and pet advocacy experts. The ASPCA, among other groups, warns of the toxic items and unhealthy treats that abound this time of year.

Stats from the U.S. tell us that approximately 1,300 people are treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday lights. Another 6,200 are treated for injuries related to holiday decorations and Christmas trees. These injuries are occurring to people who know better. Just think about the pets that do not understand the dangers around them.  Pet parents have to be responsible for their animals’ safety, too.

Know What’s Toxic

Everything from snow globes to tinsel can wreak havoc on pets’ delicate intestinal systems. Many holiday plants, like holly and poinsettia, contain oils that can be fatal to pets if consumed. Snow globes often contain antifreeze, which is well known as toxic to pets. Snow sprays and snow flock contain chemicals that can be irritants if inhaled or consumed. Tinsel and pine needles can cause choking and intestinal obstruction if consumed by smaller animals, like cats and rodents.

PuppyDecorating Dangers

Decorative glassware, trinkets and other breakables can prove hazardous to animals. Inquisitive dogs and cats may break glass ornaments and be cut by shards of glass. It’s easy for lit candles to be knocked over and even Christmas trees to be pulled down by boisterous pets. Water kept in Christmas tree stands and other decor may harbor harmful microorganisms or chemicals that become dangerous if lapped up. Cords and lights may look like chew toys to rodents, dogs and cats, who can become electrocuted or strangled while investigating.

Goodie Gluttony

Many pets have stolen a piece of people food from here or there or have been offered some table scraps. There are some items that can be dangerous during the holidays and year round. Beware of feeding pets fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin, poultry bones, chocolate, and alcohol. These items can cause illnesses from vomiting and diarrhea to highly serious pancreatitis and other toxic reactions. Remove trash from the house regularly while entertaining to ensure pets don’t get inside of garbage cans and trash bags to steal scraps. When eating, keep pets out of the dining area and maintain a close eye on scavengers who might leap for dishes at the edges of tables. Gifts, like food baskets and boxes of chocolates, should be kept out of reach of pets. Buy pet-safe treats this time of year to reward animals so they will not be inclined to steal snacks.

Holiday Stress

Having a houseful of people can be stressful on pets who are not used to the company. Talk with a veterinarian to see if a mild sedative or anti-anxiety medication might be helpful. Otherwise, keep pets contained in a quiet room away from guests if they are prone to skittishness. Try to keep feeding and watering schedules consistent so the pets will have the comfort of their routines. Be sure to spend time with the animals so they are not feeling neglected while you’re running here and there.

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year to share with your pets, but safety should never be too far out of mind when preparing for the season.

Office gifts – To buy for the boss? Co-workers? or even a Secret Santa?

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Gift for the bossTo buy for the boss or not?  A simple bottle of wine or something more extravagant?  Will it help you get a promotion? Will you look like a brown-noser?  These are tough political questions.  Sometimes finese is needed in buying your boss a holiday gift. Christmas is a great time of year to buy your boss a gift without it looking too “suspeicious” or as if you have ulterior motives (even if you do).  Hey, let’s face it, you’re buying gifts for tonnes of people already, why not the boss too?  who knows where it might get you.

Also, what about co-workers?  Or the inter-office secret Santa. Those can be fun.

 

Here some office-gift-giving suggestions for your boss or co-workers to get you started:

 

Office Set

Love your boss or co-worker? You can't go wrong with this office gift set. Totally engravable. Click pic to buy.

Memo Pad

Simple, useful, and personalized. Perfect for boss, co-worker, or secret santa. Click pic to buy.

Compass

Engrave this chrome compass and paperweight with co-workers name. Click pic to buy.

Desk Clock

Boss of the year? Manager of the decade? Engrave this clock any way you like. Click pic to buy.

Inspired yet? Do you still need more ideas? We have over 100 office-type gifts on our website. Click to see more.

Employee recognition – an inexpensive way to gain loyalty and reward good work

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Whether you’re the head of HR for a large multi-national corporation or the manager of a small retail store, odds are you aren’t giving your employees the recognition they want or deserve. And yet we know good employees are more likely to leave a company if they don’t feel appreciated.

Creating a simple system to recognize employees for their hard work can help retain good employees and motivate existing employees to work harder.

Treat everyone

You can schedule periodic recognition for the entire staff. For example, if you have periodic busy times, once things slow down, treat everyone to coffee and muffins or gift cards to a local eatery. Another idea is to choose a holiday that is not normally recognized by employers. Surprise your staff with funny gifts for Groundhog Day or St. Patrick’s Day. They’ll have fun and the surprise will make them appreciate it more. One word of warning. Don’t do this at Christmas. Many employees expect a Christmas bonus and getting a muffin will seem like a cheap cop out.

Recognize a group or department

You don’t want to forget to recognize people for their hard work. If a department or team has done an exceptional job on a difficult project, give them all a special bonus. It doesn’t need to be expensive; a business card holder or a pen given as recognition of hard work can really make a difference.

Individual Rewards

While it’s important to recognize groups, don’t forget individual effort. There’s nothing more demoralizing than having a slacker get recognized when the really hard workers are ignored. So be sure to reward people for their effort. It’s easy for managers to feel like “she’s just doing her job” but everyone appreciates a pat on the back now and again.

Give a gift after someone does a great job on a project or recognize someone for length of service.

Employee of the Month

This can be a double-edged sword. Done well, and an employee of the month awards become coveted and cherished by employees. Done poorly and they are seen as recognition of the boss’ favourite and has nothing to do with merit.

If you choose to implement an Employee of the Month award, have clearly defined criteria for choosing the winner. Make sure every employee has the chance to vie for the award and knows what it takes to win.

To avoid the look of favoritism, try having a committee choose the award winners. Then the manager isn’t on the hook and everyone knows the process is fair.

 

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