Holiday season pet safety Tips

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holiday Season

The hustle and bustle of holiday season is here! The holiday decorations are hung, the presents are wrapped, and holiday gatherings are upon us. It can be both an exciting and stressful time for your pet. Here are just a few tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the holiday season.

Holiday Decorations and Your Pet. What to watch out for:

  • Plants: A number of seasonal plants are poisonous to pets if nibbled or eaten, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.
  • Christmas tree: Make sure your dogs or cats do not chew on limbs or droppings form the tree. Ingested pine needles could get lodged in the intestinal tract, puncturing the lining or bunching together and causing an intestinal obstruction.
  • Water base: The water base of a Christmas tree contains dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet. Make sure that your pet can’t easily reach it.
  • Christmas lights and tinsel: Position your tree’s lights and tinsel draping away from the bottom of the tree where pets can get to them. Cats love shiny, twinkly objects so leave the tinsel in the box.
  • Candles: Don’t leave candles unattended. Pets may accidentally knock them over and spill wax or start a fire.
  • Fire starter logs: Dogs that enjoy chewing should steer clear; these logs contain sawdust and paraffin which can cause an irritated stomach or even intestinal blockage when ingested.

Holiday Foods Do’s and Don’ts:

Keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats especially for them. Stick with chew toys for dogs like Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Surprise your with a stuffed catnip toy or ping-pong ball to chase! The following people foods are especially hazardous for pets:

  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
  • Table scraps – Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest including gravy and meat fat.
  • Bones: Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems (even death) for your pet.
  • Citrus and pits: Keep foods containing citric acid away from your pets. Foods such as cherry pits, peach pits and apple seeds contain essential oils that have the ability to cause irritations and even central nervous system depression if a significant amount is ingested.
  • Trash: Pets who engage in trash-digging can accidentally eat foods that are potentially poisonous to them. Keep trash hidden somewhere your pet can’t access.

Pet Behavior and Holiday Gatherings:

The excitement of a party or houseguests may overwhelm some pets, make sure to let your guest know you have a pet. Make sure everyone knows your house rules on no people food and asking before giving your pet an approved.

  • Make sure your cat or dog has a safe, quiet place to retreat to when the environment gets too overwhelming for them. If your dog is crate trained have it handy during holiday parties and/or prepare to crate your dog ahead of time to discourage barking.
  • Know your veterinarian or pet hospital/clinic’s phone number and holiday hours.
  • Identify your closest 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic so you are prepared in case  an emergency occurs.