Pet safety tips to follow during the holidays

Image credit McEnearney Associates

For pet lovers, the holidays aren’t complete without our furry friends. While we celebrate, we must ensure our pet’s safety is top of mind. What may seem safe to us might actually be harmful to them. We’ve found some useful tips to follow to keep them healthy and happy.

‘TIS THE SEASON
If you have a Christmas tree, keep it securely anchored so it doesn’t tip and fall—possibly onto your pet. This also prevents tree water, which could contain fertilizers that could upset your pet’s stomach, from dripping all over. You don’t need a sick and nauseous pet in the middle of a party. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can also cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Best bet? Stick with artificial plants, and keep tinsel and candles out of the picture as well to ensure pet safety.

SWEETS AND TREATS
This is your furry bestie we’re talking about here, so of course, he or she will be getting lots of treats during the holidays. For dogs, stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible. Kongs can be stuffed with healthy foods or find chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Watching your kitty play with a bit of ribbon or yarn is super cute, but if swallowed, you might wind up dealing with an expensive surgery bill if it gets stuck in your cat’s intestines. Try a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy, or an interactive toy.

TOASTY AND TIPSY
Libations are also a natural part of the season for many, so it’s important to keep alcoholic drinks out of reach for pets. If ingested, your pet might get weak, ill or go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure. Keep human foods away from pets as well, especially chocolate or anything sweetened with xylitol. Also be sure that fatty, spicy food, garlic, onions, and bones are not given to your pets. These items can be especially harmful to your furry babies. For best pet safety practice, keep food and drinks out of reach and secure the lids on garbage and recycling cans.

JINGLE AND MINGLE
If you are hosting a holiday party, be conscious of your fur baby’s needs as your guests might not consider your pet’s safety and comfort. For example, make sure your pet has a quiet space to retreat to in case they feel shy or overwhelmed. Check on them occasionally and be sure there is plenty of fresh water and a place to snuggle while they hide out until all the loud humans have left. For a New Year’s party with confetti, fireworks or even poppers, keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in intestines, while the noise from poppers can scare pets and/or damage sensitive ears.

PAW-SITIVELY CLEAN
We love our furry little friends! But we don’t love it when others smell them. If you’re a proud pet parent, just know it’s easy to become immune to the distinctive smells they create. To your guest’s nose, it won’t take much to alert them that an animal lives there too. In addition, good hygiene habits are perfect for practicing pet safety year-round. We’ve put together an article with 5 simple tips to keep your four-legged friends and your home looking and smelling good throughout the season.

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
Remember, as the season moves more into winter, no one wants their pet to fur-reeze. Not all types of pets are suited for the winter weather, so be sure you check with your vet at what temperature they might need a sweater or a jacket and remember to take it off inside so they don’t overheat. For dogs especially, take extra good care of your dog’s paws; get them some winter booties, wipe their paws after walks, and be sure to try and avoid them stepping in salt or ice melt. If they do or it’s likely they did, be sure to rinse their paws as soon as possible to prevent ingestion of harmful chemicals or damage to their skin. (Sand is much more animal-friendly!) Be wary of areas your pet might be seeking warmth, certain heat sources pose serious burn risks. Most importantly, if you live in an area prone to power outages during storms or freezing temperatures, be sure you keep medications, food, clean water, and toys handy in case you need to evacuate or bunker down.

The holidays are sure to be happier when you know your pet’s safety is well taken care of!

—McEnearney Associates, “Pet safety tips to follow during the holidays”