Pet Patter: Happy Holidays with your Pets

Happy Holidays with your Pets


With the holiday season approaching, please keep in mind some of these pet safety tips that will help make for a happy holiday with your pets.   

    Joilene Sholtes

Be prepared.

  • Ensure that you have your 24 hour emergency numbers (veterinarian, emergency clinic, poison control, taxi etc.) on hand and kept in an easy to find location.

Start the holiday season right with the right decorating ideas.

  • If you opt for a Christmas tree, be aware that they can tip over causing an accident. Cats especially like to climb on trees or play with ornaments on them so try securing the tree with fishing line to a door knob or ceiling hook.
  • Real trees often require watering at the base. This water can become contaminated with sap and needles which can cause stomach issues for your pet. Monitor them or keep water base sectioned off from pet accessibility. Clear away tree needles from the floor as they can be very sharp and become lodged in a pets’ paw or mouth.
  • Keep broken ornaments, homemade ornaments made from dough or other food-based materials out of reach from pets.
  • Tinsel is very tempting for cats to play with and is often ingested by accident as it clings to their fur and they ingest it when cleaning themselves. Please avoid tinsel as a decoration and you will be avoiding a trip to the veterinarian for an intestinal blockage emergency.
  • Electrical lights on the tree or around the house can cause burns or shocks if your pet chews on the cords. Keep them covered and out of reach.
Making the house festive and smelling sweet with plants, flowers, potpourris or scented candles can result in pet emergencies.
  • Some common holiday plants and flowers that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them are: Mistletoe, Amaryllis, Holly, Lilies and Poinsettas. Keep these plants out of a pets’ reach.
  • Potpourris can be eaten and scented oils can cause damage to a pet’s mouth, skin or eyes, resulting in chemical irritation or burns. Keep out of reach from pets.
  • Scented candles can burn your pet and/or become a fire hazard if knocked over. Never leave your pet alone in any area with a lit candle. You do not want to be making a call to the veterinarian and the fire department.

Now that the house is decorated, you are ready for hosting parties and having visitors. Have you thought about this from your pets’ perspective?

  • Visitors and loud noises can upset pets. Even pets that are not normally shy can become nervous with all the extra excitement. Therefore, provide them with a quiet, comfortable place they can retreat to with their favorite toy where quests are not likely to have access to.
  • Inform your quests that you have a pet so that they can be prepared to protect themselves as well as your pet. Many people have allergies to pets. An overly friendly guest could cause a nervous pet to bite. Most importantly, when quests are entering or leaving your home all eyes can watch closely that your pet does not get outside and become lost.
  • If a guest is staying with you for the holidays and they have a pet they want to bring along. Politely decline if you think that your pets will not get along or offer to plan spending some time together beforehand acclimating the pets to each other.

The house is decorated, all the guests have arrived now it is time to be merry and bring out the food. Have you thought about the food that can be problematic for your pet? Keep the following food away from pets.

  • Chocolate (toxic to cats and dogs).
  • Baked goods or candy made with Xylitol (an artificial sweetener that can cause liver failure or death in dogs).
  • Turkey (even in small amounts can cause pancreatitis in cats and dogs), Chicken or turkey bones (bones can splinter and cause mouth, throat or internal injuries or choking hazard)
  • Table scraps that include onions, raisons and grapes (poisonous to dogs and cats).
  • Yeast and dough (can cause painful gas or bloating in dogs and cats).

Part of holiday festivities includes the giving of gifts.

  • Always gift toys to pets that have been purchased at a reputable pet store or veterinary clinic
  • Inspect the toy(s) to ensure that there are no small parts that may come off and be eaten or cause a choking hazard.
  • After gift exchange always remove any wrapping, ribbons or bows from floors to avoid this being swallowed up by your pet.

Now you are ready for a happy holiday with your pets. Have a joyous season with your loved ones and stay safe.