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7 Ways to Make the Holidays Safer for Pets

December is here again, and it calls for endless parties and celebrations. While these festivities are enjoyable for us, they can be stressful to pets. Making holidays safe for our pet friends is also vital. Don’t let your winter holiday have a boo hoo moment involving your cats, dogs or any pets that you have and dearly love.

Keep in mind these 7 ways to make the holidays safer for pets:

1. Plan in Advance

Image of Map, Laptop, and Camera

Plan in advance

Take note the contact numbers of your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen. Make sure to talk with your vet in advance to know where you need to take your pet in case something happens. Plan your travel route so you’ll have less stress when the situation arises. Take note of the:

  • Veterinarian’s clinic phone number
  • 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic (if different)
  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435 (A fee may apply.)

2. Properly secure food from pets

Image of Dog and Dog Food

Properly secure food from pets

While letting your pets enjoy treats is common on usual days, it’s not the same thing on holiday treats. Always keep people food away from them. Have treats that are specially formulated for them. Take note of the following food that is dangerous for your pets once ingested:

  • Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. The toxicity level can vary based on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and the size of your pet. Always keep them safer by considering all chocolate off-limits for pets.
  • Sweets and baked goods are also a no-no for your pets. The artificial sweetener, often found in baked goods, chewing gum, and candy, called Xylitol has been linked to liver failure and death in man’s best friends.
  • Turkey and turkey skin are also bad for your pets. Sometimes, even in small amounts of it can cause a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps like gravy and meat fat are also unhealthy for your pets. These scraps should be kept away from them. Onions, raisins, and grapes are known to be delicious for humans but life-threatening for animals.
  • Yeast dough can also be a problem for pets. Don’t let them experience painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
  • If you think your pet has been poisoned or has eaten something bad, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. The signs of pet distress can include sudden changes in behavior, vomiting, depression, pain, or diarrhea.

3. Have mindful decorating practices

Image of Cat with Christmas Ball

Have mindful decorating practices

Lights, greenery, and Christmas trees can make the holiday season festive, but these can also pose dangerous temptations for your pets. Take note the following decorations that can harm your pets:

  • Christmas trees can tip over if your pets climb on them. They might also try to play with the lights and ornaments. Consider tying your tree to a doorframe or the ceiling using fishing line to secure it. Additives can also be hazardous to your cats and dogs. Do not add sugar, aspirin, or anything to the water for your tree.
  • Ornaments can also be hazardous for pets. Broken ornaments can cause be ingested by them and cause injuries. Intestinal blockage and toxicity are just waiting in the corner. Avoid these by making any homemade ornaments out of reach of pets.
  • Tinsel and other holiday decorations also can tempt your pets to eat. Consuming them can cause dangerous intestinal blockages. Some incidents can call for surgeries. Note that breakable ornaments or decorations top the list of decorations hazardous to your pets.
  • Electric lights can also cause burns when your curious cat or dog chews the cords.
  • Flowers and festive plants can also result in an emergency veterinary visit. Plants like Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are common to harm pets on holidays.
  • Candles can dangerously attract pets. Make sure to never let them alone with lighted candles to avoid fire.


4. Hosting Parties and Visitors

Image of a Dog Sleeping

Hosting Parties and Visitors

Visitors can also upset your pets just like the noise of holiday parties. Even if your pets aren’t usually shy, they can still become nervous in the midst of a gathering. To help your pets reduce the emotional stress, they might go through during the celebration this year, take note of the following tips when hosting parties and handling visitors:

  • Your pets must have a quiet and safe space inside if they want to retreat from the hubbub of the party. Make sure it’s somewhere your guests can’t follow and that it can go there anytime they want.
  • Know if your guests are bringing their pets in your home. Let them know too that you have pets inside. Guests with allergies or living with compromised immune systems need to be aware of the pets.
  • If your guests are bringing their pets, feel free to decline politely. Their pets and yours might not get along well. Sometimes it takes time to supervise their interactions and monitor the signs of any problem.
  • Talk to your veterinarian even if your pets are comfortable around guests. Know the possible solutions when situations call for it.
  • Do you have exotic pets? Some of your guests might make them uncomfortable during gatherings. Make sure to keep them safely away from the hustles of the holiday.
  • Watch the exits! While you’re busy taking your guests’ coats, your pets might break out from the door and get lost.
  • Make sure your pets have proper ID tags and microchips. Your current contact and other important registered information must come with it. If they sneak out, they’ll more likely be returned to you. If your pets don’t have microchip yet, feel free to talk to your veterinarian about the advantages of this simple procedure.
  • Clear your tables, counters and serving areas from any food once you’re done using them. Make sure to take the trash where your pets can reach them. A chicken or turkey carcass and bones would be deadly for your pets. Make sure to properly wrap the meat in a tightly secured trash bag outdoors. Keeping the trash behind a closed and locked door would also be a good idea.
  • Make sure your trash is adequately cleared away from your pets. Those sparkly packaging can still be tempting to them. As pets tend to play with almost everything, they can also consume these trash if not properly disposed.

5. Safety When You Leave the House

Image of Labrador puppy looking up tangled up in Chirstmas lights.

Safety When You Leave the House

Make sure to unplug all the decorations while you’re gone. Cats, dogs and other pets will often be tempted to chew electrical cords.

6. During Holiday Travel

Image of a Pug Traveling

During Holiday Travel

Whether you’re traveling with your pets or not, make sure to keep them safe. Follow the simple steps below to safeguard them when traveling:

  • Interstate and international travel regulations require health certificates for pets from your veterinarian. Even if you’re traveling by car, you also need this one for any state you will visit or pass through.
  • Make sure to restrain your pets when riding vehicles safely. Use a secure harness or a carrier. Place them near the airbags.
  • If you’re traveling by air with your pet, you should talk with your veterinarian first. Air travel can put your pet at risk especially short-nosed dogs. Know your own pet’s ability to travel by speaking with your vet.
  • Make sure to also pack for your pet if you’re going to travel together. Aside from your pet’s food and medications, you also need to bring copies of their medical records, first aid supplies, information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost, and other items.
  • Are you boarding your dog while you travel? Find out how best to protect your pet from canine flu and other diseases by talking to your veterinarian, Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines.

7. Give Glorious Gifts

Image of a Dog with Christmas gift

Give Glorious Gifts

Note that new toys for pets tend to be easily chewed apart and destroyed. When you give holiday presents to pets, make sure to watch over them after giving them the toy. A comfy new bed, a cool new collar, or durable chew toys might be good ideas. Classic bag of treats will also be excellent!

Keep your pets healthy throughout the holiday celebrations by following these 7 ways to make the holidays safer for pets. Note that these tips aren’t intended to substitute professional medical advice. Make sure to consult your veterinarian regarding the well-being of your pets. Happy holidays!

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