It's That Time of Year Again! Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season with These Tips

December 21, 2015

For many, this week will be bustling with tree trimming, gift wrapping and gatherings with family and friends—and if you’re like us, you’ll want to include your furry companions in the festivities. We’ve compiled some tips to keep your pets safe, happy and healthy into the New Year.

Decorate with Care

Pet-proof your tree.
If you opt for a Christmas tree, secure it tightly so it doesn’t fall and cause injury to your pet, and be sure to cover the water dish with a skirt or towel. Tree water can contain fertilizer and other chemicals that can be hazardous if consumed by pets. Keep ornaments and decorative lights out of paws’ reach. Ornaments are not only a choking hazard, but broken shards can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Be wary of holiday plants. Popular festive plants like holly and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems in pets when ingested. Opt instead for a pet-friendly plant or choose an artificial version made from silk or plastic. 

Toss the tinsel. Sparkly, light-catching tinsel is especially attractive to cats, but even just a small bit consumed can cause severe vomiting, dehydration or obstruction to your pet’s digestive tract, possibly requiring surgery.

Watch Out for Food Dangers

Stash the sweets. Make sure to keep desserts away from hungry pets, especially those made with chocolate or the artificial sweetener xylitol. Mind any wrapped chocolate or other sweets that may be left under the tree.

Say no to leftovers. It may be tempting to give your pup a few scraps of your holiday dinner, some people foods can make your pet sick. If you can’t resist giving your pet a nibble of your holiday meal, stuff a puzzle toy with your pet’s usual dinner and include a few tasty tidbits of turkey, vegetables or a dribble of gravy.

Be careful with cocktails. Keep curious cats and dogs from helping themselves to your eggnog while you’re not looking by placing unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot reach them. When ingested, alcohol can cause serious problems in pets, including comas and even death.

Have a Pet-Safe Party

Lock up meds. Winter means cough syrups and cold pills are in high supply! Make sure all medications are stored up high or locked away in a cabinet between uses. Ask house guests and party attendees to keep their meds zipped up and packed away where nosy pets can’t find them.

Give them a break. With so many faces coming and going during the holiday, your pets might enjoy some alone time while company is visiting. Set aside a few blankets in a calm corner or leave open the door to a quiet room to give pets a place where they can relax away from the commotion.

Presents, presents, presents. Stuff your dog’s stocking with puzzle toys that can be filled with healthy foods or chew toys. Give your kitty a stuffed catnip toy or ball that is too big to swallow instead of ribbons, yarn and other long, stringy playthings, which can get stuck in intestines.

3..2..1.. Happy New Year! As you count down to the New Year, avoid poppers and loud noisemakers that can terrify pets and possibly damage sensitive ears. Many animals become frightened or disoriented by fireworks, so keep nervous pets in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Visit our Holiday Safety Tips page for a full list of ways to keep your pet safe this season.