The holiday season can be a busy, hectic time. With parties, shopping, baking, decorating and traveling, it’s easy to overlook the needs of our furry friends. Keeping pets safe and happy this Christmas is crucial. As a pet owner, it’s important to consider how all the holiday hustle and bustle can affect your cats, dogs, and other pets. With some planning and a few simple precautions, you can make sure your pets stay safe and happy this Christmas!
Pet Proof Your Holiday Decorations
As you deck your halls this season, make sure to keep in mind that your decorations could pose a risk to curious pets. Tinsel, ribbons, lights and ornaments can look like toys to pets, but could cause injury if swallowed or broken.
Tips to Pet Proof Decorations
Secure your Christmas tree and keep decorations and candles out of reach
- Use pet safe ribbon and tinsel or skip it altogether.
- Secure lights, wires and breakable ornaments up high or completely out of reach.
- Skip the real Christmas tree if your pet is prone to chewing branches or drinking the tree water.
- Secure your Christmas tree and keep decorations and candles out of reach.
- Display holiday treats like candy and chocolate out of reach to avoid pet poisoning.
By making decorations pet safe, you avoid emergency vet visits and let your pets enjoy the festivities too!
Give Your Pet a Quiet Place to Retreat
The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas guests and celebrations can be overwhelming and stressful for pets. Make sure your cat, dog or other furry friend has access to a quiet, comfortable place they can retreat when they need a break.
Setting up a Pet-Friendly Retreat
- Designate a room or area that will stay pet-only during holiday gatherings
- Make sure food, water and litter boxes are easily accessible
- Place familiar pet beds and toys in the area so pets feel comfortable while there
- Reward pets for spending calm time in their holiday retreat
Giving pets their own safe space reduces holiday anxiety and gives them an alternative to acting out due to stress.
Keep Holiday Foods Out of Paw’s Reach
The holidays mean lots of rich, tempting foods that can be downright dangerous for cats and dogs if consumed. Fatty foods like gravy, sweets like chocolate and even dietary changes like unusual leftovers or irresistible meat scraps can all wreak havoc on your pet’s digestive system or even cause poisoning.
Things That Cats and Dogs Should Never Eat
- Chocolate and sweets are one of the biggest dangers to dogs during Christmas, so be sure to keep all chocolate products well out of their reach.
- Onions, garlic, leek, and chives- Toxic to dogs and cats even when cooked.
- Grapes, raisins, grape seeds, and other grape products are nephrotoxic, which means that they can damage your pet’s kidneys causing kidney failure.
- Macadamia nuts quite poisonous to dogs. They contain toxins that can cause weakness, paralysis, and even death.
- Avocado skin, pits, and leaves
- Moldy or spoiled food
- Dairy products
- Hops (used in home brewing)
- Kitchen spices (like nutmeg), herbs, and baking soda
- Chicken bones and ribs, or other splintery bones
- Pits from fruits like peaches and plums
- Salt- Dogs who eat a large amount of salt in a short period of time can end up with salt poisoning which can be fatal without treatment.
- Caffeine in any form (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc)
- Artificial sweeteners
Tips for Keeping Pets Safe from Holiday Foods
- Store all food out of reach, in pet-proof containers.
- Make sure your guests are aware of your pets’ needs and any specific rules, such as not feeding them table scraps.
- Never leave holiday food unattended on counters or tables.
- Clean up immediately after meals and gather all food scraps.
- Contact your vet if you suspect your pet has consumed unhealthy human food.
A little prevention goes a long way in keeping pets safe from holiday food issues. Be vigilant and don’t give them the opportunity to get into trouble!
Make Time for Your Pets Amid the Holiday Rush
As your schedule fills up with shopping, celebrations, travel and hosting duties, it can be easy to neglect your pets’ exercise, play and bonding time. But making time for your furry friends is important, especially during such an upheaval from their normal routine.
Tips for Keeping Pets Happy When Your Schedule is Packed
- Commit to maintaining your pet’s regular feeding, exercise and play schedule
- Spend a little one-on-one attention each day cuddling, grooming or playing fetch
- Ask a friend or pet sitter to walk your dog if your schedule gets too busy
- Consider bringing pets visiting relatives’ homes if you’ll be staying overnight
- Set up pet play dates so they socialize while you catch up with friends
With a little planning, you can make sure your pets feel loved and cared for during the holidays too!
Ask Friends and Family to Help Keep Pets Safe
Don’t take on the sole responsibility of protecting your pets from holiday dangers. Kindly let your friends, family and even visitors know about risks to your pets and how they can help prevent problems.
Enlist guests to assist with pet safety
- Give them a refresher on pet proofing decorations and storing food properly
- Introduce them to your pet’s safe space and rules about access
- Show them where pet food/treats can be found in case they want to interact
- Let children know basic rules about safe pet handling
- Ask them to help watch pets at gatherings and report any concerning behavior
Most people will be more than willing to help keep their furry hosts safe once they know what to look for. Having everyone onboard with pet safety keeps your pet’s wellbeing a top priority through all the holiday fun.
Prepare a Pet First Aid Kit
Despite your best efforts, pets can still end up in accidents, ingest something they shouldn’t or fall ill. Having a pet first aid kit on hand lets you respond promptly, which is especially critical during holidays when veterinary offices may be closed or have limited hours.
Your pet first aid kit should include
- Pet first aid reference guide
- Sterile gauze
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Towel or blanket
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Contact info for poison control and your vet
By being prepared to handle minor injuries or stabilize a pet until you can reach medical care, you minimize holiday risks. Make sure to research basic pet first aid steps as well!
As we immerse ourselves in the joy and warmth of the holiday season, let’s remember that our pets rely on us for their safety and well-being. Keeping pets safe and happy this Christmas means having their needs, safety and comfort in mind amid all the festivities all them to enjoy the time with the rest of the family. May your holiday season be filled with love, laughter, and the companionship of your beloved pets.