Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

Black and white cat by Christmas decorations

Keeping the Season Bright for Your Pet

Celebrating the holiday season wouldn’t be the same without your beloved pet by your side. As you prepare for the holidays remember safety first for your furry friend. Pets are naturally inquisitive, especially when there are new things in their environment to taste, climb, and play with. The following safety tips can keep your holiday focus on peace, joy, and love!

orange and white cat under a Christmas tree

Seasonal Plants and Decorations

Christmas Tree: Anyone who has a cat knows–cats like to climb. And Christmas trees seem to be really enticing. Make sure your tree is secure in the stand. I even know someone who ties rope around the tree and anchors it to the wall. The water sitting in the tree stand is a breeding ground for bacteria. Try to keep your pet from drinking it–good luck.

Say No to Mistletoe & Holly: If your pet eats holly they can suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular issues. A Christmas lily can cause kidney failure if ingested by your pet. If you can’t live without these buy a gorgeous fake one.

Forget the Tinsel: This sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s so much fun to play with can cause serious problems to your pet’s digestive tract if ingested. To avoid severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery skip the tinsel.

Ornaments & More: Remember the cat on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Enough said. Keep wires, batteries and breakable ornaments out of your pet’s reach. Wires can cause lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can burn your pet’s mouth and esophagus. And broken ornaments can damage your furry friend inside and out.

white dog in a christmas sweater with antlers on the hood

Holiday Food & Drinks

Avoid the Goodies & Leftovers: Never feed your pets chocolate, anything sweetened with xylitol, or spicy foods. Pets will do their best to get at these treats, so be sure to your pets away from the food. Keep food covered, pick up dishes with left overs, and store your garbage in a secure container with a lid. Again I will reference Christmas Vacation–do not give your dog bones.

Careful With Cocktails: If you serve alcoholic beverages be sure to keep them up and away from your pets.  Alcohol is toxic to dogs and cats–exposure to seemingly harmless amounts of alcohol can kill a pet.

Of Course Rover & Roxy Deserve Treats:  Many pets have their own Christmas stocking, and stockings need to be filled on Christmas Eve. Try to focus on the healthy varieties available. Make sure any toys you choose are safe. This may mean you have to avoid the super-cute-all-decked-out-for-the-holiday variety. But this will also help avoid an emergency run to the vet, saving worry, time, and probably a lot of money.

Check out our post 14 Quotes All Animal Lovers Will Agree With.

Siamese cat laying in front of a bunch of Santa figurines.

Outdoor Safety

Stay Inside. Never leave your dog or cat outside during cold weather. Period. It’s an erroneous belief that dogs and cats can tolerate cold weather because of their fur. Just like people, cats and dogs can get frostbite and hypothermia and therefore should be kept inside.

Know the Limits:  Pets’ cold tolerance can vary depending on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from possible weather-associated health risks. Your dog’s paws can accumulate ice between their toes. It may help to clip the hair between their toes. Watch for signs of cold-weather damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding.

Clean Up: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up toxic chemicals from the ground. Salt on the sidewalks, spilled antifreeze, and other poisons are a risk for your pet, especially if they have the opportunity to lick their coated fur. Wash your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals.

Keep Your Pet Home: I understand you want to take your pet everywhere, but cold cars pose significant risk to their health. Cars can rapidly cool down in cold weather and this can put your pet in a dangerous, even life-threatening situation.


A white dog on a hiking trail in the snow.

Have a Peaceful

Holiday and Safe

New Year!

Janet & Sandra













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6 thoughts on “Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

  • November 21, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Great advice! I always seem to forget which plants are deadly to animals…so thank you! I love the pictures that you’ve included. Are they yours? The dog all decked out is my fave! Love the grey kitty sitting on the table too!

    • November 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you! Yes, they are all mine-I am blessed!

  • November 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Our cat Cujo drank the tree’s water, ate tinsel and had it coming out his butt, and ate the pine branches and threw up all over the house. That was the last year we had an artificial tree. 🙂

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