5 Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pets

As the winter holidays approach, your home may be filled with festive food, decor, and more. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your pets stay safe during your holiday celebrations:

1. Avoid giving your pets “people food”

Food is a huge part of the holidays, but so much of it isn’t good for our furry friends. Onions and garlic are toxic to pets, so make sure you keep ingredients out of reach when cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Alcohol is also hazardous to cats and dogs, so don’t leave your glass or wine or eggnog unattended. Cooked turkey bones can be a serious danger, as they can easily splinter in an animal’s digestive tract. If you want your pet to indulge with you for the holidays, only purchase treats and chews made specifically for them.

2. Pet-proof your Christmas trees

Pine needles are mildly toxic to pets and can potentially puncture the intestines, so if you catch your cat or dog trying to eat them, move the tree to a room you can close off or stick to an artificial tree. If you have a live tree, the tree water can contain preservatives that can upset your pet’s stomach, so cover your tree stand to prevent pets from having access to the water. If your cat is climbing your tree, make sure it’s securely anchored so it won’t tip over.

3. Be vigilant with decorations

Keep breakable ornaments up high on the tree where curious pets can’t reach. The same is true for Christmas lights, which can pose an electrocution risk if bitten. Always unplug Christmas lights when you’re not actively supervising your pet. Tinsel can be tempting for cats to play with but can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Opt for artificial holly and mistletoe, since the real thing can cause vomiting. And if you have a menorah, don’t leave a lit flame unattended, or opt for flameless candles to be extra safe.

4. Keep an eye on gift wrapping supplies

Does your cat enjoy “helping” you wrap your gifts? Wrapping paper and gift bags can be fun enrichment items for pets, but make sure to supervise them so they don’t ingest anything harmful, like string, ribbon or other gift-wrapping materials.

5. Create a sanctuary space

New Years’ Eve fireworks, Christmas poppers, and even holiday carolers can make noise that may frighten your pet. And if you’re entertaining guests, your pet may feel stressed by new people in the home. Always make sure they have a a safe, soothing space to go to – like a closed off room – if they need to get away from scary sounds or strangers.

Have a fun and safe holiday season!