Holiday Pet Safety Tips Your Family Can Rely On

Between seasonal decor, changes in routine, and unexpected guests, the holiday season can be hazardous for curious pets. While dedicated and responsible pet owners strive to create a pet-friendly (if not pet-centric) home environment year-round, it’s important to focus on pet safety during the last few weeks of the year. With our holiday pet safety tactics in place, you can rest assured that you’ll be ringing in the new year with your healthy and happy pet by your side.

Keepin’ it Real

Due to your pet’s steadfast habits, you may already know that he or she is a creature of habit. Meals, bathroom breaks, bedtimes, and walks around the block can be predicted down to the minute, and your pet’s happiness largely depends on anticipating what comes next.

The holidays are naturally upsetting to household pets, especially if you’re rushing to events or appointments and staying out late (as in long past dinnertime). Likewise, hosting friends or relatives can be unsettling to a pet accustomed to quiet, calm days.


The best thing you can do for your pet is to maintain his or her routine. Make plans for others to walk or feed your pet if you can’t make it home on time. Also provide a safe, quiet place away from all the action to which your pet can retreat.

Lastly, inform your guests that they should not let your pet outside or offer any food. Update your pet’s microchip information just in case they get outside, and dress up your pet’s ID tags with a lovely seasonal collar.

Speaking of Food…

Having a grasp on holiday pet safety includes an understanding of what your pet should never eat:

  • Fatty or undercooked meat
  • Bones
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Goodies artificially sweetened with Xylitol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Uncooked or raw yeasted dough
  • Any rich or buttery foods

Of course, you may decide to include your pet in the festivities. Dress up a plate just for him or her with steamed carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, and a bit of peanut butter.

Clear discarded plates quickly and secure all trash outside where your pet cannot access any waste.

Other Holiday Pet Safety Tricks

In our opinion, having the following decorative items are worth the pet emergency they can cause:

  • Tinsel, popcorn, and cranberry strings can cause major GI problems
  • Pine needles from live trees are not digestible and can perforate your pet’s stomach or intestines. The sap and pine oil can also cause irritation to the paws and mouth.
  • Presents containing food items should not be left under the tree before you’re ready to open gifts.
  • Lit candles and potpourri oils should be kept out of the “wag-zone” and placed on a surface that can’t be reached by curious whiskers or delicate noses.
  • The consumption of mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, lilies, and poinsettia can result in various symptoms. It’s best to display holiday plants out of your pet’s reach, outside, or skip them entirely. Artificial plants look just as nice.
  • Light strings and extension cords are best when up off the floor or ground.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holidays are an excellent opportunity to reflect on how much your pet means to you. Help him or her understand how much you adore him with extended cuddles, an extra long hike, or a special treat.

If our doctors can help you prepare for the season or you have additional holiday pet safety concerns, we welcome your call at any time.

Happy holidays!