Browsing the aisles of any pet store it’s safe to assume that the animals we share our homes with love the holidays as much as we do. From festive costumes to seasonal beds, dishes, and toys, it’s a foregone conclusion that pets feature prominently in holiday celebrations. 

That’s all well and good (and endlessly entertaining, of course), but there are definite risks to their overall health and wellbeing that shouldn’t be ignored. As a result, holiday pet safety measures should be enforced. Without a doubt, protecting pets from harm is something to be grateful for this holiday season.

Stick to the Clocks

One of the best defenses against the holiday frenzy is to continue adhering to your pet’s routine. They utterly depend on meals and bathroom breaks at specific times throughout the day, and they anticipate exercise and interaction whenever you’re at home. Sure, you have a growing list of things to do and people to visit, but be sure to stick to your pet’s rituals above all.

A Word About Visitors

If you’re hosting this year, it may be worth it to have a discussion with guests about your pet’s needs. To uphold holiday pet safety rules, ask that they hang up coats, purses, and backpacks (all of which could contain medications and other potential pet hazards). Instruct them not to allow your pet to run out the front door (has your pet been microchipped?), and request that they not sneak food to them. 

If pets need a quiet place to get away from the action, set them up in a back bedroom or consider crate training to keep them content and safe.

Holiday Decor & More

A formidable threat to holiday pet safety is decor. The broad strokes would be to keep your pet away from all holiday decor. 

The following decorative items are among the most common threats to holiday pet safety:

  • Glass ornaments
  • Christmas tree water can have high levels of pesticides, fertilizers, flame retardants, and more
  • Christmas tree stands may not protect against a climbing pet
  • Plants, such as poinsettia, holly, mistletoe and lily, are considered toxic to pets
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Essential oil diffusers
  • Flame candles
  • String lights can be chewed on or cause entanglement
  • Tinsel
  • Ribbon
  • Snow globes (imported ones can have antifreeze inside them!)

The Yikes! Factor

The holidays feature a lot of yummy food in abundance, a point not lost on our always-hungry, opportunistic pets. If only we could share with them some of our favorites, but much of what’s up for grabs can either make them terribly ill or intensely uncomfortable. Bear in mind that many fresh fruits and veggies can be substituted for meats and sweets, but none of the following should ever be offered or left within a pet’s reach:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (found in sugar-free candies and baked goods)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes, raisins, currants
  • Rich, fatty food like gravy, butter, and dark meat can cause pancreatitis

The Best in Holiday Pet Safety

Preventing a situation in which your pet gets sick or injured is easy with our holiday pet safety guide. If you have additional concerns about holiday pet safety this season, we encourage you to reach out to us

From all of us at Clairmont Animal Hospital, happy (and safe) holidays!