The holidays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but don’t forget about your four-legged family members! Keep your pets safe during the holidays with these pet safety tips!
Holiday Pet Safety Tips
Make sure your pets have a great holiday season by following these safety tips!
Decorating Do’s & Don’ts
The first year we had our kittens, we worried about setting up a Christmas tree and decorating for the holidays because they were so rambunctious and climbed on just about everything! But having pets doesn’t mean you can’t decorate for the holidays! Here are some tips for holiday decorating to keep your house and your pets safe during the season.
If you put up a Christmas tree (regardless of whether it is real or fake) make sure it’s stable! If your treestand isn’t super sturdy, attach the tree to a wall or to the ceiling to help secure it.
When decorating your tree, put anything breakable or dangerous higher on the tree, so they’re out ofreach of your pets. Here are a few items you should be especially careful with:
• Christmas lights: They can get pretty hot, your pets can get tangled in the wires, and if your pets chew the wires they can even get shocked!
• Tinsel: It’s dangerous if ingested and can block up your pet’s intestines, which usually means surgery to remove it.
• Glass and other breakable ornaments: Glass shards can cut your pets’ paws if they step on the broken pieces. Use floral wire, twist ties, or paper clips to securely attach ornaments.
• Edible tree decorations: If you have cranberry or popcorn garlands on your tree, don’t let your pets eat them! The berries and popcorn are bad for your pets, and if they eat the string it can cause digestive problems.
Once you have your tree decorated, be sure to keep your pets away from the tree water. The preservatives in the water can be dangerous. A tree skirt should do the job! Also, make sure you vacuum up pine needles regularly. Pine trees themselves aren’t poisonous to animals, but many animals like the smell of fresh pine and may try to eat fallen pine needles, and the needles can puncture their intestines if ingested. And keep electrical wires taped to the walls or baseboards to help prevent animals from chewing on them and accidentally getting electrocuted.
Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are popular plants for holiday decorating, but all three of them can be toxic to animals if ingested! Either put them up high where pets can’t get at them, or use faux flowers for decorating this holiday season. And if you have candles, make sure they’re out of reach too!
Be Careful With Holiday Food!
Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but there are a lot of other foods that can be harmful to your pets as well! Basically, people food is for people; feed your pets food that is specifically designed for them. Don’t feed them scraps from the table, and clean up the kitchen whenever you’re done cooking so they don’t pull food off the counters. And if you have guests over, make sure they know the rules too!
Here are a bunch of foods to keep away from your pets. Most of these are harmful to your pet, and some can even be fatal:
• any candy sweetened with Xylitol (i.e. most candies)
• milk and dairy
• rich, fatty foods (like gravy, quiche, ham, etc.)
• raw meat and fish
• fat trimmed from meat (cooked or uncooked)
• macadamia nuts
• seeds or pits from most fruits
• onions and onion powder
• uncooked yeast dough (or dough with raw eggs in it)
• coffee (ground or whole beans)
Another thing to be careful of is bones. Bones (especially poultry bones) are brittle and can break into sharp pieces that can cut your pet’s mouth or stomach. Even if the bones don’t break, they can still be a choking hazard. And after you throw those bones away, make sure to keep the lid on the garbage secure! Even if you’re being careful about what food gets left out, your pets can still get into your garbage if it’s not secured.
If you want to treat your pets this holiday season, keep some pet treats handy. They’ll love them, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s safe!
Other Pet Safety Tips
What pet doesn’t look cute in a giant bow or a pair of antlers for your family photo?! But be careful not to leave your pets unattended; ribbons tied around their collars can choke them, and if they eat the costume it can cause digestive issues.
Be careful when wrapping and unwrapping presents as well. Cats especially love balls of wrapping paper, ribbons, tinsel, and other gift wrap supplies, but all of it can be harmful if ingested. When wrapping presents, clean up right away and make sure not to leave scissors laying around; when unwrapping presents, keep a garbage bag nearby to contain the paper, ribbons, bows, etc.
Your house might get pretty crowded during the holidays, and all the new people and sounds can be stressful for your pets. Make a safe, quiet room or space for them away from the crowds. Put a soft bed and a bowl of fresh water in a bedroom or bathroom that isn’t being used, so your pets can escape if they’re feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t have an extra room to spare, just throw a long tablecloth over a side table, push the table into a corner, and tuck a bed and water bowl underneath.
Last but not least, be careful as your guests arrive or leave. With so many people walking in and out of doors, there are tons of opportunities for pets to escape, so watch the door carefully and make sure your pets have identification tags on their collars at all times!
How do you keep your pets safe during the holidays?