Holiday pet safety can lead to holiday fun for pets!

Are you decking the halls this season? Most of us celebrate one or more of the winter holidays, which usually means partake in the delicious food, beautiful decorations, and friend and family gatherings that the season brings. Of course, we love to include our pets in this special time of year, they’re part of the family, after all!

But some of the things that come with holiday festivities can pose serious health and safety risks to our pets. Awareness, knowledge and attentiveness can go a long way to preventing a pet emergency. So before you get into the full hustle and bustle, let us help make the season merry and bright for your furry loved ones with our holiday pet safety tips.

Feast Fiascos

One of our favorite things about the holiday season is gathering around the table to enjoy traditional foods. But overindulging for our pets can not only cause GI upset, it can lead to a foreign body obstruction or even pancreatitis, a serious and painful inflammation of the pancreas.

Here are some common holiday foods that can be toxic for our pets:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute used in candy, gum, and peanut butter)
  • Yeasted bread dough
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chives, onions, and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts

In addition to these foods, it’s important to prevent pets from having access to these holiday food related items:

  • Unattended leftovers
  • Poultry and other meat bones
  • Fatty scraps, including poultry skin and gravy
  • Meat string, food wrappers, and aluminum foil
  • Garbage

Dangerous Decor

Although a decorated Christmas tree, a glowing Menorah, and twinkling lights may all be an important part of the holiday season, they can spark your pet’s natural curiosity, which can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation. Here are some things to watch for when it comes to decorations and holiday pet safety.

  • Christmas tree water – can be toxic if treated with chemicals
  • Tinsel and ribbon – can cause foreign body obstruction if ingested
  • Strings of lights – pose risks of strangulation and electric shock if chewed
  • Candles – singed tails and whiskers are a risk
  • Essential oils – can cause toxicity if ingested
  • Glass and breakable ornaments – if broken, can cut paws, noses, and mouths
  • Holiday plants – holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can be toxic to pets

Holiday Pet Safety – And Fun!

For some of us, the holidays mean parties and gatherings. Most pets don’t love a crowd, though. Here are a few tips:

Leave them home – let your pet relax in the comfort and safety of her own home when you go out to the holiday affair of the year. If you’re worried about anxiety, hire a pet sitter to keep her company or consider boarding her while you’re out.  

A safe place – if you’re hosting this year, give your pet a safe spot in a room in your home to escape the commotion. Make sure she has her bed, food, water, and toys. Check on her often and praise her for good behavior. Most pets don’t mind sitting the party out.

Watch the ins and outs – if your dog is helping you greet guests, make sure she cannot access the front door to scoot out and get lost. Also check that she is wearing current collar and tags, and that her microchip is registered with your current contact information.

Of course, it’s possible to safely include your pets in any number of fun holiday traditions. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

  • Include your pet in the family holiday photo
  • Give her her own stocking, and fill with gifts for her
  • Bake dog friendly cookies for her
  • Take her with you to see holiday lights (in the safety of the warm car)

At holiday time, there are no shortage of fun ways to include your pet. Just make sure they are safe and that you’re aware of any risks. And, if you need help or have questions about holiday pet safety, don’t hesitate to contact your friends at Blue Valley Animal Hospital.