5 Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holiday season is filled with food, decorations, fun-filled activities, and time spent with loved ones – and of course, that includes our pets! Keep these tips in mind to make sure your four-legged family members stay safe during the festivities.

Avoid giving your pets “people food”

There are many commonly used ingredients in holiday meals that are toxic to our pets. Cooked turkey bones should never be given as a treat, as they can splinter in an animal’s digestive tract. Onions, garlic, chives, and leek are poisonous to both cats and dogs, and in large amounts, can even be fatal. Alcohol is also hazardous to pets, so don’t leave your wine, eggnog, or other spirits unattended. You can still indulge your pet during the holidays by purchasing treats or chews specifically for them.

Pet-proof your Christmas tree

Christmas trees can pose multiple hazards – for example, many Christmas trees are chemically treated and can leach toxins into water in the tree stand. Keep your tree stand covered so your pet doesn’t drink from it. In addition, pine needles are mildly toxic to animals and can potentially puncture the intestines. If your pets seem interested in chewing on the branches or seem determined to drink the water, move the tree to a room you can close off or stick to an artificial tree. 

Be vigilant with decorations

Keep breakable ornaments up high where curious cats and dogs can’t reach and avoid tinsel altogether as it can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Christmas lights can pose an electrocution risk if chewed on, so always keep them unplugged when you’re not actively supervising your pets. Since real holly and mistletoe are toxic to dogs, cats, rabbits, and even humans, choose artificial plants for a safe alternative. If you have a menorah or other decorations that utilize candles, choose flameless candles to avoid singed fur and whiskers.

Supervise during gift wrapping

Does your cat enjoy “helping” you wrap your gifts? Although wrapping paper and gift bags can be fun enrichment items, you’ll want to supervise your cats so they don’t ingest anything harmful, like string or ribbon.

Create a sanctuary space

Between holiday carolers, Christmas poppers, New Year’s Eve fireworks, and visiting guests, the holidays can include lots of noises and unknown people that can be frightening for animals. Provide a quiet sanctuary space for your pets – like a closed off room – so they can get away from sounds or strangers if needed. 

Have a happy and safe holiday season!