Keep Your Pets Safe during the Holidays
Keep the holidays fun for you and your pets by keeping them away from toxic food, plants, and decorations.
Reduce their stress by keeping their routine as normal as you can and giving them their own space.
Unsafe people food for pets
You and your guests might want to give your pets a treat but make sure not to give them human food that is not good for them.
Stick to your pet’s regular diet during the holidays and if you want to give them a treat, mix a small amount of pet-safe food with their dinner. Cats and dogs can eat foods like green beans, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, and peanut butter for a treat.
- Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats and so is the sweetener Xylitol.
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney problems.
- Chives, garlic, and onions are toxic to your pets.
- Bones can splinter when eaten and cause a medical emergency.
- Citrus, cherry pits, apple seeds, and peach pits can be harmful to your pet in large quantities because the essential oils found in them can cause blockages, irritations, and central nervous system depression.
- Never let your pet have coffee or caffeine.
- Keep drinks where your pets cannot get to them. Alcohol can cause weakness, illness, coma, and respiratory failure or death.
- Raw or undercooked eggs, meat, and fish can make your pet sick.
- Also keep fatty foods like gravy and nuts, tomato leaves, stems, and salt away from pets.
- Keep garbage where trash-digging pets cannot get to it.
Toxic holiday plants
Keeping your pets away from toxic holiday plants is one of the most important holiday safety tips for pets. Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal upset.
Poinsettias, ivy, and holly can make your pet very sick and lilies can cause kidney failure. Choose pet-safe plants instead.
Dangerous holiday decorations
Holliday pet insurance claims commonly include ingestion of non-food items like ribbon and tinsel. This can be a medical emergency because foreign bodies can cause intestinal obstruction and surgery may be needed.
- Cats love playing with tinsel but it can cause an intestinal obstruction if eaten. Choose different decorations instead.
- Pets may eat ornaments or play with them and cut themselves when they break. Hang them out of reach of furry troublemakers.
- Ribbons are another favorite holiday toy for cats but can cause serious damage to their intestines.
- Clean up pine needles often because they can upset your pet’s stomach if eaten or cause punctures and obstructions.
- Tuck cords away where your pets cannot reach them or use a grounded three-prong extension cord.
- Tree water can be harmful to your pet and they might tip over the tree. The water can harbor bacteria and if you add any chemicals to it, make sure they are safe for pets. Use a tree skirt to prevent them from drinking the water.
- Fire starter logs should be kept away from dogs that like chewing.
- Snow globes sometimes contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). If they break and your pet licks up the liquid, go to the emergency vet immediately.
- Keep pets away from candles so they do not burn themselves or start a fire, or use electric ones instead.
Guests and noise
Seeing your friends and family is the best part of the holidays but guests can be overwhelming for your pets.
- Have a designated room for your pet to retreat to if they are feeling overwhelmed. For cats, set up a sanctuary room with everything your cat needs, like food, water, a litter box, a cat tree, and a comfy bed.
- Ask guests to play with your pets instead of giving them treats. Good stocking stuffers for pets include chew toys or healthy chew treats for dogs and wand toys for cats. Make sure to put the toy away when you are not playing with your cat.
- Ask guests not to leave medications out.
- If you are having a New Year’s Eve party, keep pets in a secure room with minimal noise. Fireworks can frighten your pet and loud noise can damage their ears.
Know where to go if there is an emergency
Have a list of 24/7 emergency veterinary clinics and save the numbers in your phone. Find out their holiday hours in advance.