Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

A small, fluffy, happy dog standing on a white padded bench with a fireplace and two Christmas trees in the background

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and no doubt you will have plenty of preparations to make. However, something that you absolutely need to prioritize is making a plan for how to safely enjoy the holiday period with your pet. This is because the festivities also flag up a number of different considerations to make when it comes to the wellbeing of your pet. To make the holiday season healthy and happy for every member of your family, human and animal, here are our top safety tips.

Holiday food fears

Many people look forward to the delicious seasonal treats associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as the opportunity to indulge in your favorite things a little more than usual. Your pet will be well aware of the abundance of treats around too, and will no doubt be interested in discovering what they can get their paws on. As a pet owner, you are probably already aware that there are plenty of human foods that aren’t good for your furbaby. Making sure that your family and guests know too is essential for keeping your pet safe. Some of the holiday foods that are toxic to pets include:

  • Candies and chocolate, particularly those sweetened with xylitol.
  • Fatty foods and offcuts of meat skin and fat.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Grapes, raisins and some types of nut.
  • Anything containing garlic or onions.
  • Salty and processed foods.
  • Meat with bones in, since these can fragment and become a choking hazard.

Be sure to clear plates away promptly and secure your garbage so that your pet cannot get into it. You should also make sure that any alcoholic and caffeinated drinks are kept securely out of the reach of your pet.

Dangerous decorations

Decorations are a staple in many homes, brightening the atmosphere and adding a sense of fun to the festivities. Nevertheless, there are a variety of ways in which decorations can pose a danger to your pet, and in some cases, your home as a result of actions by your pet. Some of the key considerations that you should make about your holiday decorations include the following:

Poisonous plants and flowers. There are a number of natural decorations that are potentially poisonous if consumed by your pet. Mistletoe, holly, lillies and poinsettias can all cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Artificial varieties make a great alternative.

Tinsel and ornaments. Tinsel is sparkly and great for attracting the attention of our naturally curious animals. However, if ingested it can obstruct the digestive system, making your pet sick and potentially meaning that they require surgery to clear it. The same can be said for ornaments, which also pose a choking hazard and which, if broken, could cause cuts and abrasions to your furbaby.

Christmas tree carnage. Animals are notoriously inquisitive, so don’t put it past your pet to get up close and personal with your tree. However, the stability of your Christmas tree is important as if it falls, it could injure your pet. If you have opted for a real tree this year, you should also make sure that your pet doesn’t drink the tree water as stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria that could make your pet sick.

Shocking electrics. Exposed wires can be a tempting chew toy to pets but doing so could put your pet at risk of electrical burns or even an electric shock. There’s also every chance they could get wrapped around your pet, causing them harm.

Candles and fires. An open fire is a lovely feature at Christmas, but be sure to invest in a fireguard to keep your pet away. Meanwhile, candles shouldn’t be left unattended either. Not only could they set your home alight if knocked over by your pet, but they could put them at risk of being burnt.

Frightening friends

It is normal to have visitors to your home over the festive period, but the arrival of strangers can be frightening for many pets. Make sure that any guests that you have understand that their presence may be a little disconcerting for your pet at first, and ask them to be patient and kind. Make sure that they also know the best ways to keep your pet safe – such as by not offering human food, closing doors and keeping harmful substances such as medications out of reach.

Create a safe haven for your pet

If it all gets a little too much for your pet, a safe haven is an ideal place for them to retreat to. Make this a room away from the majority of visitors and noise, and make sure you place all their creature comforts there – water, blanket, and their favorite toy. Check on them regularly and offer plenty of reassurance.

Following these holiday safety tips will help to ensure that your furbaby gets to enjoy the festive season too. For more advice and support, please get in touch with our veterinary offices where our team would be happy to help.

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