The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer,
and the air is getting cooler. We all know what that means --
the holiday season is nearly upon
us. While our winter holidays are viewed as a time for love
and family, and not normally associated with hazards, these
festivities can be fraught with peril for our four legged
friends. Thankfully, navigating the choppy waters of pet
holiday safety doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these
holiday safety tips and you’re sure to have nothing but fun and
sugar plums dreams this season.
1. Give them an escape
For many pets, the stresses of the holidays stem mainly from
the constant visitors. If your house is the one everyone flocks
to for a holiday dinner, make sure your pets have a place where
they can get away from the hustle and bustle.
One note: The coat room might not be the best place to leave
them, as a pile of coats might make a pretty appealing place to
sleep on (and shed all over).
2. Know your no-no foods
With the smell of delicious foods wafting through the air, your
pets may plead for you to give them a taste, which is ok, but
only so long as they are given a small portion of pet-safe foods along with their everyday
dog or cat food. Most importantly make sure that anything you
give them is free of:
- Grapes & Raisins
- Chocolate (and other candies)
A safe bet is to stick to some turkey, ham, or pumpkin to give
your pet a taste of the holiday season. But absolutely no bones
3. Keep your lights out of reach
One of the most fun activities of the holiday season is
lighting up your house, but with pets running around, you need
to be careful where you hang the cords. Make sure any lights
hung inside are safely out of reach, or taped down.
4. Exercise tree safety
If you are decorating a tree,
make sure all the ornaments are not only hung with care, but
secured to the point that not even the most clever cat could
unfasten them. Using both rope and hooks tends to be effective.
As for ornaments, while you may be tempted to use candy canes
and gingerbread men to deck your tree, avoid it -- these snacks
are not only a surefire way to tempt your pet onto the tree,
but they are also no good for them to eat. Also, glass
ornaments, while precious, are also just begging to be smashed
on the floor and stepped on by your barefoot pal.
As for the tree itself, it is a good idea to not only put it in
a secure base, but to have it tied to the wall or the ceiling,
thereby reinforcing it against the almost certain attacks flung
at it by curious pets. Also, since most of these attacks are
launched from atop a cabinet or couch back, if you can isolate
the tree in some way, it might help give it a leg up on your
Lastly, absolutely no tinsel! It
might be glittery and pretty, but if your cat or dog eats it,
they are going to need to be taken to the vet.
5. Don’t play with fire
Many of these winter holidays place
an emphasis on fire (looking at you, Hanukkah), and while
the candles represent an important (if not central) part of the
holiday, it only takes one curious cat or dog knocking over
your menorah to reduce your eight nights of celebration into
one miserable night of waiting on your front lawn for the fire
department to arrive.
After you light the candles and say your bruchas, put the
menorah somewhere it can be easily kept an eye on, and do so
until the candles burn out (should be about 35 minutes, unless
you are a maccabee). Same thing goes for Christmas candles.
6. Be the wrapping paper police
Everyone loves gifts -- wrapped
up all nice with a big pretty bow. However, should your dog
should scarf one down, or even worse, eat a ribbon, watch out
-- just like with tinsel, you are going to be quickly on your
way to the hospital.
A good solution to this problem is to think minimal when
wrapping your gifts. If you can avoid ribbons, do so, as they
are the most dangerous part for cats and dogs.
7. 'Tis the season for poisonous plants?
It is a mystery why this time of year has so many plants that can make your pets sick, but
it does-- mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are among the most
poisonous plants for cats and dogs. The best solution for this?
Don’t have these plants around. Fake ones can be just as pretty
If you’re determined to have any of these plants, treat them
the same way you would lit candles or a bowl of chocolate
candies -- make sure they are out of reach, and in a place
where you can keep an eye on them.
And if you follow these guidelines, you should be able to keep
your pet, your decorations, and your slaved over meals safe
this holiday season.
Keeping Your Pet Safe During The Holiday Season
Perhaps the worst thing a pet owner can experience during the
holiday season is an emergency vet visit. Unfortunately, that’s
exactly where many will end up on a cold winter’s night--and
for a variety of reasons that could have been easily avoided in
Here’s a look at the top reasons why a pet owner might find
themselves at the vet this winter….and how to avoid the trip
all together so you can your pooch can stay safe and warm at
Most every household will be putting up a tree during the
holiday season. It’s a hallmark of the celebrations as the snow
begins to fall and the weather turns cooler. However, whether
real or fake, certain considerations need to be made to keep
your dog safe.
First and foremost, be certain that your dog has their manners
in place. In other words, if you have a teething puppy, you’ll
want to avoid leaving them alone around your tree because they
might just turn it (or the presents underneath) into a chew
Secondly, consider your ornaments carefully. Shatterproof
plastic ornaments are affordable and often just as pretty as
the real thing. You wouldn’t know the difference unless you
pick them up, or drop one. That’s why they’re the safest bet
around pets who may knock a glass or ceramic ornament off the
treat by accident.
Third, be sure that you hang any sentimental decorations higher
up on the tree. If you’re stringing up popcorn or candy canes,
you should also put them higher up and out of reach of your
furry friend’s strong sniffer. When in doubt, don’t leave them
out by themselves.
A final word of caution: While those scented sticks can
definitely bring the smell of wintertime cheer into your home,
they should be tucked high and deep in the tree, and out of
reach of any dogs. If you have climbing cats, it’s probably
best to avoid them all together because they are packed with
Who could deny the cuteness of a cat and dog dressed up as
Santa and Mrs. Claus? From elf ears to hats to full-body
sweaters, any costumes your pets happen to adorably adorn this
year should not be left on them unattended.
Pets can be quick to turn these into chew toys, and ravling
yarn, plastic parts, and decorations can be dangerous. If your
pet struggles to pull off an accessory, that can also turn into
a strangulation hazard and it most certainly won’t help your
pet get into the spirit of the holidays.
Instead, try to forego the costumes except during carefully
attended photo ops and family gatherings. For your pet’s safety
and comfort, be sure to take any of their accessories or
holiday outfits off before they go to bed or get left alone.
This time of year is known for social gatherings and family
events that get everyone together around the table. But, while
you may want your pet to feel involved, it’s not always safe to
be passing table scraps down to them.
In fact, you should try to avoid feeding your pets human food.
Not only does it disrupt their carefully balanced diet, it can
also turn them into permanent beggars--and that’s a hard habit
If your pet is already one that likes to hang around the table,
be certain to politely request that guests don’t feed them any
food scraps or leftovers. If you have a pushover in your house,
it may be best to put your pet into another room while everyone
enjoys the feast.
The main reason for this is pet safety. Many things that are
found in human food, even in small quantities, are surprisingly
unhealthy or even dangerous for cats and dogs. Make sure to
look things up before letting your pet have a taste and, even
better, try to avoid feeding them human food all together.
Gifts for Your Pet
Who doesn’t love the thought of giving their pet their very own
present during the holiday season? After all, everyone else is
in on the fun! However, you’ll want to be certain that any pet
presents you’re picking up are truly safe for them.
This goes back to general toy and treat safety. Be certain that
any toy you are purchasing for your pet has been designed with
their safety in mind. That means no plastic parts or
accessories that they can get ahold of and potentially swallow
When it comes to treats, you should stick to the pet aisle
where the ingredients have been carefully chosen based on
what’s safe for your animal to eat. If you find that your pet
is a picky eater, you can even make your own treats for some
Think Twice Before Making a Pet a Present
During the holiday season, the adoption rate of dogs and cats
goes through the roof!
While it’s great to think of all the pets who are finding new
and happy homes with families, this is always a great time of
year to remind readers that pets aren’t a last-minute gift.
In order to truly give the pet, and your family, the best
present, be sure to do your research and make sure that
everyone knows the responsibilities involved with the care and
keeping of the animal.
It’s also a great thing for everyone to tag along and help pick
out the new pet so that everyone is able to bond and connect
with them. So rather than putting a bow on a brand new puppy or
kitten, if you’d like to welcome a new pet home this year,
announce a trip to the local shelter to pick one out.
More on Pets During the Holidays
Pet Safety for the Holiday
5 Dog Christmas Outfits for the
Cat Christmas Trees to Distract Your
Cat from the Big Tree