Pet Safety During the Holidays

How to keep your furry friends safe during the holidays.

Companion animals are an important part of our family and they can provide a significant source of comfort and joy during the holidays. While we want them to be involved, feel loved, and have as much fun as the rest of us, the holiday season can presents an unusual number of potential hazards to your pet. Be sure to keep them safe by following these simple tips.

Proper Dietvet dc pet holiday safety

Many times as pet parents, we feel guilty feasting on holiday treats while our companion animals sit longingly at our feet, hoping a few scraps will make their way to the ground. Sharing with them may ease the guilt, but much of the food we eat isn’t healthy for them. Make sure to limit the amount of food you share with them and try to avoid feeding your pets the following:

  • Turkey or chicken bones – poultry bones tend to break off in shards
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Foods flavored with salt, onion, or garlic powder
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Anything sweetened with Xylitol
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate

Note that it’s okay to share turkey with your pet – just be sure it no longer has the skin or bones, which can be choking hazards. Also, be sure to secure lids on your trashcans or take the trash out to ensure your pet doesn’t get into something when you’re not looking.

With festivities come decorations of all shapes and sizes, many of which our pets might mistake for toys.  Watch out for:

  • Trees – make sure your Christmas tree is well secured so that it doesn’t tip over and fall on your pet. If your family gets a real tree, keep your companion animal away from the tree’s water. It could contain fertilizers and bacteria that could make them sick.
  • Plants – Mistletoe, Holly, and Poinsettias can cause your pets to suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. A variety of lilies can actually cause kidney failure in cats. Keep these high up and in hard to reach places, and/or spray them with a bittering agent.
  • Decorations – Pets may see tinsel, garland, ornaments and ribbon as fun to play with or chew on. Ingestion of any of these could cause serious gastrointestinal distress, leading to vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, dehydration and in some cases may require surgery.

If you plan to give your pet a gift for the holidays, make sure that it’s something indestructible. Gifts with small parts or that come apart easily could also cause problems in your pet’s digestive tract. Find durable gifts for your companion animal here.

Learn more about keeping your pet safe during the holidays with these resources from the ASPCA and