Holiday Safety Tips

We’re into the holidays now, and, like any other family member, your pets want to be involved in the parties! As you plan your holiday gatherings and feasts, keep your pet’s health in mind. A report indicates that pet emergency services received over 8,000 calls regarding pets who ate dangerous items or were injured during the holidays last year.

  1. Pet care experts encourage you to keep your pets’ routine as close to normal as possible.  While a special meal is always enjoyed, giving them lots of table scraps, or even a “special meal” of a different food should be considered and limited.
  2. Keep track of your pets! With all the comings and goings and the open doors as people load gifts in (or out), it’s easy to lose track of your pet – next thing you know, he/she is out in the yard and heading for the street! 😯 So PLAN — if people are coming in and out or the doors remain open, maybe it’s a good time to have someone take the dog for a short walk, or take the pet into the other room.
  3. Make a “Pet Retreat”.  You may already have one… but with friends and family visiting, it is more important than ever that your pets have a space which they can retreat to when they get overwhelmed. Even the most social pet may need some “quiet time”, away from the hubbub and attention.
  4. Keep your decorations safe!
    • Make sure that Christmas tree is securely anchored. A tipped tree can seriously injure a pet and could cause damage to things in your house as well. You could even tie the top of the tree to the wall or ceiling.
    • Watch that tree water… If you have a “real” Christmas tree, you need to keep it watered. However, the pets don’t understand – an may see that as an extra water bowl (after all, it is at their level). Christmas trees are fertilized to make them grow faster and are full of pesticides as well – and that will seep into the water, even as the tree “drinks” it up. Also, stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria. So, cover that tree-stand water – get one of the decorative stands or covers and just tape a plastic bad around the trunk and over the bowl… You can use the tree skirt to hide the plastic if you consider it unsightly.
    • Use electrical take to secure your wires so pets can’t chew them.
    • Avoid tinsel! As pretty as it is, tinsel can cause major digestive tract issues with pets who eat it and can even require surgery to remove!
    • Secure those pretty glass ornaments! Use string in place or (or in addition to) those little wire hooks. With pets (like little kids), ornaments WILL get knocked, and a broken glass ornament can seriously injure your pet (or you).
    • Watch our for candles. Keep the candles in higher spots – your pet can get burned and tipped candles can drip hit wax which can injure your pets’ paws, as well as being a fire hazard.
    • Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Holly can all be fatal to pets! Even pine needles can cause problems with some animals.


  5. With so much food around, your pets want in on the action! Be careful with placing foods in locations which the pets can get to.
    • Fatty and spicy foods are not good for your pets. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis.
    • Although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones. especially cooked bones, can splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system.
    • As always, keep chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol away from your pets!
    • Keep the drinks away from the pets. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death
    • Onions, chives, garlic, grapes, raisins, walnuts and macadamia nuts are all hazardous
    • Other nuts and coconut products, while not specifically life-threatening, can cause intense discomfort and possibly have future consequences.
    • uncooked yeast dough can cause bloating of the stomach and bowels and potentially convert to alcohol (see above).


If something does happen, you can call
the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435 (A $65 consultation fee may be charged.)
or the Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661 ($49 per incident fee applies)


The above list is based on information taken from:
ASPCA: Pet Care – Holiday Safety Tips
PetCareRx: Pet Safety Inforgraphic
PetMD: Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays
American Humane Association: Holiday Issues

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