As your friends and family gather around the Christmas tree or menorah, it might be tempting to allow your pet in on the holiday festivities this season. The delicious food, the adorable decorations, the staged photos; our pets are a holiday staple at this point. After all, our furry friends are part of the family — why wouldn’t we want to include them in the holiday cheer? But what about pet safety tips?
While everyone knows not to feed your dog chocolate, there are plenty of other pet dangers associated with the holiday season. The following holiday pet safety tips will help you include your pet without damaging their health during the upcoming holidays.
Avoid harmful plants
The holidays are ripe with festive, seasonal plants, but many of these favorites are harmful to our furry friends when they’re ingested.
While it might seem like Christmas isn’t complete without hanging mistletoe above the door, it’s best to hold off if you have pets in the home. You should also hold off on poinsettias, holly, and hellebore, otherwise known as Christmas rose. These plants can cause life-threatening health issues when they’re ingested by your pets. At best, your pet might experience abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you choose to give these plants as gifts over the holidays, only offer them to relatives who don’t own pets. This is a common last-minute gift for people who failed to plan sooner. And since nearly 25% of people in the U.S. procrastinate on buying gifts for their friends and loved ones, when in doubt, avoid plants as a last-minute holiday gift.
Watch out for these foods
Another of the top holiday pet safety tips involves food. It’s a well-known fact that grapes and chocolate are bad for pets, but there are countless other foods that slip under the radar during the holiday season. This becomes increasingly hazardous when you’re giving your pet table scraps without thinking.
Other dangerous foods include:
- Dough made with yeast
- Anything made with xylitol (an artificial sweetener)
These foods can cause respiratory issues, comas, and even death in many cats and dogs. If your pet has ingested a potentially toxic food, visit your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
Watch your guests
During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, just about any dog or cat can get overwhelmed by the sudden surge of people. When your pet is feeling overwhelmed by a holiday party, ensure it has somewhere safe to go and recover from the noise. This might be their crate stationed in another room or a bowl of water and bed in a quiet room.
On top of that, you should open lines of communication with your friends and family upon their visit. Many people who live in a pet-free household don’t realize the dangers that come with the holidays. Forbid the presence of noisemakers and fireworks around skittish animals and let your guests know that they cannot feed them table scraps. After all, the treats you offer your pet shouldn’t exceed 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Reign in your decorations
As much as you want to create a winter wonderland in your home during the holidays, some decorations cause more harm than good!
Tinsel, for example, is one of the worst offenders. Cats love the stringy nature and smooth texture. That makes it fun to play with and easy to eat, but this can cause detrimental health effects in your pets.
You should also remember to unplug all string lights and outlets when you’re not at home. Pets love to chew on cords, and leaving them plugged in when you’re not home is a disaster waiting to happen.
Nearly 44% of all homes in the U.S. are home to a loveable dog, while many others harbor cats or both. Organizing a pet-friendly holiday season is your duty as a diligent pet owner.
Luckily, in the event your pet eats something harmful or you worry for its safety, the Animal Poison Control hotline is available to call 24 hours a day every day of the year. Keep your pets safe by following these pet-friendly holiday tips and tricks.