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Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holiday's

Winter Holiday Pet Safety

The holiday season is upon us and many pet parents enjoy including their furry friends in the festivities. As you prepare for the holidays, keeping your pet’s eating and exercise routines as normal as possible is important. Also, make sure your pets do not have access to unhealthy treats, toxic plants and hazardous decorations.


Do not give people food to pets. Not even if they look at you like this…

Make or buy treats that are specifically made just for them. Below is a list of people foods that are particularly dangerous for pets:

  • Chocolate: Many of us find chocolate to be an important part of the holidays, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. While the toxicity can vary depending on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, keep all chocolate off limits for your pets to be on the safe side.

  • Other sweets and baked goods: Foods with sugar are popular around the holiday’s but they tend to be too rich for pets and should be kept in a place your pets cannot get to. It should also be noted that an artificial sweetener frequently found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been connected to liver failure and death in dogs.

  • Turkey and turkey skin: Even in small amounts, turkey and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis (a life-threatening condition) in pets.

  • Table scraps: Many foods that are healthy for people are toxic to pets. This includes onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays we tend to gravitate toward extra-rich foods, but these table scraps can be especially fattening and difficult for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis.

  • Yeast dough: Keep yeast dough out of the reach of your pets. It can cause painful gas and possibly dangerous bloating for pets.

Decorating While garland, lights, and Christmas trees make the holidays festive, they can create dangerous temptations for our pets.

  • Christmas trees: Pets, especially cats, can be extremely tempted to play with Christmas trees, so be sure to securely anchor your Christmas tree to avoid possible injury to your pet. If you have a real Christmas tree, this will prevent the tree water from spilling.

  • Water additives for Christmas trees: These can be toxic to pets. Tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause an upset stomach for your pet. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and if your pet gets into it, they could experience nausea or diarrhea.

  • Ornaments: If ingested, broken ornaments can cause intestinal blockage. It is best to keep any ornaments that are handmade, especially those made from salt-dough or other food-based materials in places your pet cannot get to.

  • Tinsel and other holiday decorations: Pets are tempted to eat these, especially cats. If consumed, they can cause intestinal blockages, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

  • Electric lights: Curious pets can be attracted to lights and have the potential to cause burns when chewed.

  • Flowers and festive plants: If your pet gets into any flowers or festive plants, it may result in an emergency vet visit. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are the most common holiday plants that can be very dangerous and potentially poisonous to pets who get a taste of them. Go for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic. Another option is to choose a pet-safe bouquet.

  • Candles: It is best to use candles at a time when you are able to supervise your pet. Never leave your furry companion alone in an area with a lit candle; the last thing you want is to start a fire right before the holiday’s!

Hosting parties and visitors Pets can become upset with having visitors in the home because of all the noise and excitement that comes from the holiday festivities. Even pets that aren’t usually shy can become anxious with all of the party commotion. Use these tips to reduce emotional stress on your pet:

  • A Room of Their Own: Your pets should have access to an area that is comfortable and quiet if they want to be alone. This should be a space where guests won’t follow, and your pet can go to at any point.

  • Inform Your Guests: Prior to the party, you should inform your guests that you have pets or if other guests will be bringing their pets to your house. Guests may have allergies to certain pets and should be made aware of any pets in your home so they can the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

  • Guests with Pets: If a guest asks to bring their pet with them and you are unsure how the pets will get along, you should respectfully decline or plan some time to get the pets acquainted.

  • Watch the Exits: Regardless if your pets are comfortable around guests, be sure to keep a close eye on them, especially when guests are entering and exiting your home. The last thing you want is for your pet to get lost around the holiday’s!

  • Identification: Microchips and identification tags reunite families. Having up to date information is extremely important in case your pet does sneak out the door.

Holiday travel

  • Interstate and international travel: Laws require you to have a health certificate from your veterinarian for any pet you bring with you, even if you are traveling by car. You should learn the requirements for any states you will be visiting or passing through. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get the needed documentation within the timeframes needed by those states.

  • Pets in vehicles: Never leave your pet alone in the car and always have them safely restrained. If you don’t want to have your pet in a crate, a pet seat belt is a great option.

  • Air Travel: Talk to your veterinarian beforehand because air travel can put some pets at risk, notably short-nosed dogs.

  • Pack For Your Pet: In addition to their food and medications, you should bring copies of their medical records and information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost.

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