Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa… No matter what you celebrate, your holidays are filled with celebration. But, that doesn’t always mean you have to include your pets in the festivities. Funny pet videos, gifts for pets, and even trying to make them a part of the holiday feast; as fun as all of these activities may seem, pet safety is a key concern that all pet owners need to consider during the holidays. So we’d like to give some tips on keeping your pets safe while celebrating the season.

The Christmas Tree: The lights, the bulbs, the garland – all look like toys to your pets.  

  • Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet.
  • Provide your kitty with a cat condo so he/she will be less inclined to exercise on your tree.
  • Make sure that you do not use any chemicals in the water for your tree, which may poison or cause stomach upset. Also, make sure that it does not stagnate causing bacteria to reproduce and affecting your pet’s digestive system.

Mistletoe, Holly & Poinsettias:  These plants are a holiday must, and while very pretty, they can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by your pet. Mistletoe is poisonous can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Also, many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. We suggest you opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Tinsel: Pets love this sparkly, light-catching decoration that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But, a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to avoid it all together.

Menorahs: Don’t leave candles unattended or use flameless candles instead. Pets can burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders placed on a stable surface. And, make sure you extinguish all candles when you leave.

Wires and electric cords: Keep wires and cords out of paws reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.

Decorations: Be careful with glass ornaments. Shards of a broken glass ornament can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract, which could cause serious GI issues and even death. Try decorating with plastic ornaments to avoid the issues.

Food Dangers
Food is an integral part of the holidays, which is why going on a diet is the #1 New Years resolution, but your pet doesn’t need to share your holiday treats. Make sure you keep the following away from your pet:

  • Chocolate
  • Anything sweetened with xylitol
  • Spicy food
  • Cooked bones
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
Make sure to exercise your pet before your party so they will be calmer when your guests arrive. It’s always best to keep your pets secured in a room or crate during the festivities. You wouldn’t want one of your guests to inadvertently give your pet a treat that will him or her sick. Also, a crowd could cause anxiety in your pet so it’s best to give them a safe haven while you enjoy your guests.

Welcoming the New Year
As you count down to the New Year, please keep the following in mind:

  • Confetti is lots of fun for dogs and cats and can cause intestinal obstructions that could require surgery.
  • Poppers and fireworks can frighten pets and cause anxiety and possible damage to their ears. Make sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Finally, make sure to keep the contact information for your Emergency Vet or your Veterinarian handy in case of an emergency.

From all of us here at Paw Prints in the Sand, we wish you and your pets a very happy and safe holiday season and a wonderful New Year!