Like most people, your pets are part of the family, which means you include them in your holiday festivities. Whether you’re adding a new addition, or you already have several pets, keeping them safe during the holiday season should be top of mind. After all, there is a marked increase in activity, visitors and bright, shiny decorations that pets love to play with.
With a little diligence and care, it can be a safe holiday season for the whole family.
1. Plants: Christmas trees, both artificial and real, can brighten your holiday season. However, Christmas trees and other holiday décor may be toxic for pets and could cause major health issues. Keep in mind that any standing water may cause your furry family members to have an upset stomach if they consume it. You may want to purchase a Christmas tree collar for the base of the tree. You’ll also want to make sure your tree is secure, so it doesn’t tip over and fall on your pet. Do whatever you can to keep your pet away from your artificial or real tree.
Mistletoe and holly can also cause your pets to have an upset stomach and sometimes even more serious health issues. Consider buying artificial plants such as silk or plastic. However, your pets may still be fascinated to artificial plants, so keep them where they can’t reach them.
2. Tinsel Town and that Holiday Glow: Cats love things that sparkle! It’s why they think tinsel is a fun toy to swat or carry around. If they swallow a piece, it can obstruct their digestive tract, possibly resulting in surgery. Brighten your home with something other than tinsel such as decorative bows.
Candles can be fascinating to pets and they may be deadly if left unattended. Consider using flameless candles instead. Plus, you won’t have to clean up the mess of the wax.
3. Hide the Sweets: Sweets are a huge part of the holidays and you probably already know chocolate can be toxic to pets. Any kind of candy or cookies can also cause issues as well, so keep the items where your pets can’t reach them. Never leave food unattended!
4. Leave the Leftovers: Be cautious when feeding your pets leftover food items. As tempting as it may be, human foods may be detrimental to their health. Bones from meat can become lodged in their throat and fatty foods can cause an upset stomach. When in doubt, do not feed your table scraps to your pets! You don’t want to take the risk of causing health issues.
Tip: Instead of feeding your pets holiday food, keep dog or cat treats with you, so you can give them some here and there. Dogs love peanut butter flavored treats and cats always love cat nip.
5. Foods That Are Hazardous to Dogs:
- Avocado – Some varieties like the Guatemalan avocado contain high amounts of persin, which is toxic to dogs
- Bread dough
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
- Onions and garlic
- Xylitol – Often found in sugar-free products
- Fat trimmings
- Turkey Bones
6. Foods That Are Hazardous to Cats:
- Bread dough – Yeast expands in the stomach.
- Ethanol/alcohol – Yep, eggnog, too!
- Moldy foods
- Onions and garlic
- Fat trimmings
- Bones – Can splinter and damage the digestive system
7. Parties and Visitors: If your pets have anxiety with parties and visitors, give them access to a quiet, comfortable space somewhere inside your home. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, make them comfortable in a room where they have easy access to their bed. Most dogs consider their crate as a safe place and it will be cozier for them. If your dog is comfortable with loud noises and guests, a dog gate is a great way to keep them away from the party, but they can still visit with everyone. The same goes for your cats.
New Year’s noise is also an important holiday pet safety tip. Your pets may become scared of the noise from poppers, fireworks, and other noisemakers. If you have a party, again, give your cats and dogs a space of their own where they relax. Consider turning on the television to block out any loud noises and remember to check on them from time to time to make sure they’re okay.
8. Travel: The holidays happen to be the busiest travel time of the year. If you plan on traveling and taking your pets with you, you’ll want to pack for your pets just as you would for you. For example, you’ll want to bring their food and any medications that they may have to take and copies of their medical records in the event they must take a trip to the emergency room. Bring a pet first-aid kit in case your pets get injured and pack food, water bowls, travel litter boxes, and whatever else they’ll may need. And don’t forget to have identification tags and microchips for your pets in case they get lost.
9. Pet Presents: Like most pet parents, you’ll want to give gifts to your furry family members. After all, you don’t want them to feel left out! Novelty holiday toys for pets tend to be easily chewed apart and destroyed. You can still give them presents, but you’ll want to watch them closely after giving them a new toy. A safe bet would be a comfy new bed, durable chew toys or even treats.
Nothing can spoil your holiday season like an emergency with your pet. Now that you know what to look out for and what to keep out of your home, you can enjoy the time with your family and friends over the holidays, especially with your beloved furry family members! Happy Holidays!