Before everyone wakes up on Christmas morning to open presents, make sure that you’ve taken all the right precautions to keep your dogs and cats safe for the holiday season.
While the holidays can be fun for humans, they can also be dangerous for our furry family members. No one want’s having their Christmas interrupted by a trip to the emergency veterinary clinic!
The holiday season is coming, and many pet parents will include their pet companions in the festivities. As you are preparing for the holidays, it is important to keep your pet’s eating and exercise routine as close to their normal routine as possible.
Here are some holiday safety tips for your fur family this holiday season.
Safety Tips for a Christmas Tree with a Dog
Make sure the tree is well-anchored to prevent tree-tipping disasters. Check your tree stand daily to see that the eyebolts still hold it down. If you want added security, you can anchor the tree to your ceiling using a ceiling hook and fishing line.
By securely anchoring your Christmas tree, you’ll avoid the tree tipping or falling, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also stop the tree water from spilling, which may contain fertilizers that can upset your dog’s stomach.
Pet parents should always monitor dogs and cats around the tree. If possible, set up your tree in a room that you can easily close off when’re not home. Many people also use a baby gate made of plastic to keep pets from accessing the tree.
Curious cats and dogs are going to want to explore the strange tree in their living room. Both dogs and cats have been known to jump onto the tree and cause it to collapse.
Beware the Water from the Tree
Pet owners bringing live pines, firs, and spruces inside for Christmas need to make sure the water reservoir in the tree stand isn’t accessible to dogs and cats. The tree can release poisonous sap that pets eat because of drinking water.
Many fresh trees have pesticides mixed in, or pesticides mixed in with fertilizer, water additives, like aspirin. Veterinary doctors sometimes give dogs aspirin to treat various conditions, but too much can be deadly.
Take care of the tree stand by covering it with aluminum foil and a well-wrapped tree skirt.
Holiday Decorations: Safety Tips with Dogs
With all the busyness of the holidays, we need to be extra cautious in keeping our pets safe, especially from cords lying around for the tree or lights.
Christmas lights sure are pretty, but the electrical cords can be dangerous to your pet. Pets can die from electrocution, internal injuries, or intestinal blockage after eating a decorative snack.
Be sure your pet can’t get to your lights or the cords. Block all loose cords and wires.
Ornaments Can Be Deadly
Dogs must look at Christmas Trees and think, "Wow, look at all those balls!" Toys just hanging there for the taking.
You may think they’re ornaments, but to Fido and Fluffy, they’re just potential toys available during the holidays.
Keep glass ornaments and breakable decorations out of reach of your dog’s. A broken ornament can injure your pup’s paws, mouth or intestines, if swallowed.
Chewing on ornaments can cause cuts on the mouth, throat, and intestines, and other serious injuries.
When eaten, garland and tinsel can cause gastrointestinal blockages that can hurt or even kill your pet.
Avoid Mistletoe & Holly
Holly can make our furry family sick, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and heart problems. Choose silk or plastic artificial plants or a pet-safe bouquet.
Edible Tree Decorations
Edible tree decorations such as ornaments and popcorn strings and other items are pets’ worst nightmares.
These goodies are just too enticing, and your pets will surely tug at them and knock your tree over. Not to mention they’re choking hazards.
Say No to Tinsel on the Tree
Both puppies and cats love this sparkly, light-catching toy that they can bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow which can cause bloating, vomiting, dehydration, and possibly surgery.
That Holiday Glow
Candles can be popular over the holiday season. However, never leave lighted candles unattended. Pets can burn themselves or start a fire if they knock candles over.
The best candles are those that are battery operated candles. Make sure you use proper candle holders and place them on something stable. When you leave the room, put the candle out.
Wrapping Christmas Gifts
When gift wrapping, keep your pet away. Plastic, paper, string, and ribbon can cause intestinal blockages.
Scissors can hurt pets, and we should never keep them on the ground or low tables. Keep your pets away from wrapped gifts.
Pick Safe Christmas Plants
The holly and mistletoe are toxic plants when eaten, and English and Asian varieties of the holly contain toxic saponins that can cause an upset stomach if eaten.
Mistletoe for dog’s is nothing to kiss over; eating the leaves or berries of this common Christmas tradition can cause stomach upset and a slowed heartbeat.
Poinsettias are only toxic when consumed in large amounts, so their reputation as dangerous plants is undeserved. That said, the milky white sap of the poinsettia causes diarrhea, excessive drooling, and vomiting, which can’s health.
Christmas bouquets and other plant product with lilies can be dangerous to pets. Lily plants can cause fatal kidney failure in a few bites, so cautious pet parents should probably steer clear of including them in their holiday decor.
Keep Gifts And Candy Out Of Reach
Make sure your stockings are hung with care this holiday season; small toys, gift wrap, and candy should be kept out of reach of your dog’s at all times.
If you think your pet ate something they shouldn’t have this holiday season, call your veterinarian right away. If your pet gets hurt after hours, have the numbers to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital handy.
Finally, call the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435 if you have any concerns about toxic substances your dogs may have eaten. Specialists are available every day of the year, including Christmas.
Pet behavior and holiday guests
During the cold weather, keep your pets inside and give them plenty of toys to keep them busy.
Provide your pet with a quiet area or crate during the holidays and inform your guests with advance notice that you have a dog.
Holiday travel and Dogs
Consider carefully whether to take a pet on a trip (air travel can be dangerous).
If you plan to leave your dog home while you travel, be sure to pick a sitter or kennel wisely.
Wherever you’re taking your pets over the holiday, they should have collars and tags with your contact info.
Learn How to Travel Safely with Your Pets
Looking to Stuff your Dog’s stockings?
Avoid Holiday Meals Dangers - Skip the Food
Skip the Sweets: You already know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know how far an enterprising pet will go to have some yumminess? Make sure your pets don’t eat off the table or unattended food and lock garbage can lids.
Don’t feed your furry friends leftovers: People food, fatty foods, spicy, no-no human foods, along with bones, are not recommended. Macadamia nuts, coffee, onions and even table scraps can be toxic for your dogs. Pets can join in the fun without expensive medical bills.
Keep your food on the table and out of the dogs bowl - Most Turkeys are baked with spices and the skin. Spices can be toxic for our dogs. Turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.
Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcohol to get to them. Ingesting this could make your pet weak, ill, or even cause a coma which could cause death from respiratory failure.
Just Say No to Deserts for Dogs - Candy, deserts, and Chocolate can be harmful to dogs. Quite often candy includes xylitol, which is often found in gum or sugar free deserts. Xylitol is quite toxic for dogs and can be deadly if consumed.
Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Party
If you're planning a holiday party, you'll want to plan for your dogs to remain safe.
Visitors - Visitors can upset your pets. Dogs that are shy, excitable or simply don't do well in crowds.
If your dogs are nervous around people or crowds, it may be best to place them into a separate room with their favorite beds and toys. Turning on music or a tv will help drown out and keep your dog's company.
Watch the doors and exits - If your dog is comfortable around guests, they can easily feel spooked. If the door is open and run. As your guests are leaving or entering, you'll especially want to keep a close eye on your dogs so they don't accidentally get out of the house.
House Rules: If your animal-loving guests want to give your pets some extra love and attention while you’re busy, tell them to start a nice game or petting session.
Put the Meds Away: Make sure you lock up all your meds and ask your guests to do the same.
Give your dog his own quiet retreat with his own fresh water bowl and snuggle spot. Shy puppies might prefer to hide out under some furniture, in their cases or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noises: Please remember that confetti strings can get lodged in a dog’s intestines, resulting in surgery. Noisy poppers can scare pets and hurt their ears. Remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so make sure you put them in a secure, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.