Tips for Keeping Pets Safe and Healthy at Home This Holiday Season

The holidays present many unique dangers to pets that many people don't always think about until it's too late

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe and Healthy this Holiday Season
Image: Pixabay
November 29, 2018

It's the prime time for holiday parties and other festivities, but these festivities can be hazardous for our four-legged family members. Keeping our pets safe should be an important part of holiday celebrations, and doing so is as easy as making a few changes and setting some ground rules.

Anchor Christmas Trees

To a playful pet, your Christmas tree might look like a giant toy of sparkly fun. Be sure to securely anchor your tree so it doesn't tip and fall. Cats love to climb branches and large dogs have a habit of bumping into them.

keep decorations out of reach

Lights bulbs made of glass from decorative strands can cause internal bleeding if ingested, not to mention electric shock if the lights are turned on. Plastic bulbs are safer.

Other ornaments with sharp edges can cause damage to your pets' paws, even cats if they decide to bat at them. Smaller ornaments can be choking hazards if swallowed and can even become lodged in the digestive tract, causing serious problems.

Christmas Tree Water

Anyone with a pet knows that animals have very low standards when it comes to the things they eat and drink. To many people, water keeping the Christmas tree moist may not seem like a hazard, but it can be. Tree water can contain fertilizers and chemicals that seep from the tree, not to mention any additives you've put in to keep it green. Water that sits unchanged for even a short time is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make your pet sick. In any case, chemicals and bacteria in even small amounts can spell big headaches for pets. So keep them away from tree water.

Special Holiday Plants

Poinsettias are commonly thought to be very deadly to animals, but they are actually only mildly toxic. Still, that's no reason to let your pets munch on them. Lilies, holly and mistletoe are extremely toxic in small quantities.

Cats Love Tinsel

Tinsel might seem innocuous, but cats love this sparkly light-catching toy that's easy to bat around in their mouths. Tinsel can be easily swallowed which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and surgery.

pick up the wrapping paper

Wrapping paper on the floor can present an attractive playground for your pet, but wrapping paper, ribbons and tape can cause choking hazards and other problems if ingested. Additionally, some papers may have hidden chemicals from the manufacturing process that can make pets sick.

Holiday Stress and a safe place

Even the best pets can get anxious and stressed around the holidays, so make sure your pets are getting appropriate attention and exercise. Before a large gathering, take the dog on a long walk in order to release some pent up energy.

Make sure your pets have a safe and secure place to go when they are feeling overwhelmed. This can often be a favorite bed or crate that's out of the way.

Guest Rules for Interaction

Don't be afraid to set some ground rules for how your guests interact with your pets. It's your pets' home, after all. Make sure your guests know that if your pet is in a safe place to leave it alone. Never force your pets, especially dogs, to interact with guests. This can cause even a mild-tempered pet to lash out, especially if stressed.

Food Safety

Some foods are extremely harmful in small amounts and it's hard to keep track of which parts of the meals have which ingredients. So set a firm rule that people food should stay on the table. Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, can cause a rapid and dangerous drop in blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Chocolate and fatty meat scraps are very toxic to both dogs and cats.

Feed your pets before it's time for people to eat. A pet that has already eaten is less likely to look for food.

Medication Safety

When you have guests over to your home, chances are pretty good that someone will bring medication, especially if those guests are staying the night. Make sure guests keep all medication and other toiletry and cosmetic items out of reach of curious pets. This includes toothpaste, which can be fatal to some pets in even minute quantities.