Top 13 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

These 13 holiday pet safety tips will keep your furry family safe during the holiday season. Learn how to avoid choking hazards, toxic foods, injuries, and other dangers.

The holiday season is a time for fun, friends, family, food, and celebration. But it’s also a hectic time of year, and there are dangers for dogs and cats that pet parents must be aware of. From poisonous treats to escape attempts, pet parents have to be especially vigilant about their four-legged family members around this time. Here are 13 holiday pet safety tips from dog trainer Chrissy Joy and Dr. Renee Schmid from Pet Poison Helpline.

1. Be Mindful of Poisonous Holiday Plants

Many of the plants associated with the winter holidays are poisonous to dogs and cats. These include poinsettias, lilies, holly, and mistletoe. Keep these far away from curious cats and dogs or locked away in a room.

2. Don’t Let Them Eat Tinsel and Ornaments

Shiny tinsel and decorations are irresistible for many dogs and cats. But if your pup or kitty tries to eat these things, they can choke or get a blockage in their intestines. Keep these items out of reach, create a barrier around the tree, or keep your four-legged family members out of the tree room.

3. Keep Them Away from Candles

Candles create a warm ambiance on cold winter nights, but they’re also a hazard around dogs and cats. Not only can animals burn themselves, but they can also knock the candles over and start a fire.

4. Don’t Let Them Chew Electrical Cords

Strings of lights make for excellent holiday decorations, but they’re also a chewing hazard. When the lights are on, your fur baby could get burned or shocked if they chew the cords.

5. Know What Foods Are Toxic

No holiday pet safety tips list would be complete without talking about the holiday foods and treats that are toxic for animals, so here are some things to watch out for:

  • Chocolate
  • Nuts (walnuts, macadamia, pistachios, and pecans)
  • Xylitol
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Coffee
  • Cooked bones
  • Sugar

6. Watch Out for Wrapping Materials

Bows, wrapping paper, and ribbons are all enticing toy-like things that might catch the attention of curious critters. Once you’re done wrapping, put these things away and keep your animals away from the gifts.

7. Watch the Door

There’s usually lots of coming and going during the holidays, and this gives adventurous animals plenty of opportunities to run off. Always keep doors closed and make sure guests know to keep an eye out for escape artists.

8. Store Medications Safely

Medications always pose a risk to animals, but it’s even worse around the holidays because of visitors. Keep all medications away, make sure lids are tight, and pick up any pills that fall on the floor before dogs or cats can get them.

9. Choose Safe Ice Melts

If you live somewhere with snowy, icy winters, slips and falls are always a worry, especially around the holidays when guests visit. Ice melts prevent slips, but the chemicals in them are very dangerous to dogs and cats. Choose a pet-safe ice melt that doesn’t contain salt or dangerous chlorides.

10. Store Alcohol Safely

Alcohol is extremely dangerous for animals. It can cause vomiting, seizures, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and more. Keep all alcohol safely out of reach—including spiked eggnog and liqueur-filled chocolates.

11. Secure Your Tree

Lots of animals love playing with ornaments and even climbing Christmas trees, but they can knock the tree over in the process. Anchor the tree to the wall so it doesn’t fall over to avoid injuries and damage.

12. Make Sure Fido or Felix Has a Quiet Place to Go

Some dogs and cats are social butterflies who love a house full of people, but others are easily overwhelmed. These animals need a safe place to go and relax when they need some alone time.

13. Keep Toys and Batteries Out of Reach

Toys and games that have small pieces or require batteries can be dangerous for dogs and cats. Chewing small pieces can cause choking and blockages, and batteries contain harmful chemicals.

With these holiday pet safety tips, your two- and four-legged family members can enjoy a safe and memorable holiday season this year and in years to come.



Animal Wellness

Animal Wellness is North America\’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.

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