The holidays are here, and guess who’s already noticed the change in seasons? Our pets, of course! Carefully tuned into even the subtlest changes, they know something’s up the second we bring something different into the home. Perhaps they see us lugging a great evergreen tree through the door, struggling with decor, or maybe they notice we’re eating a little more than usual.

Despite all this cheery chaos, the team at Old Derby Animal Hospital wants to help you and your pet relax and enjoy the season with these holiday pet safety tips.

Everyone’s Favorite Part

The holidays are wonderful because of – let’s face it – the food! Wouldn’t it be great if we could share the goodies with our pets? Sadly, much of what makes the holidays so special for us can actually make the animals we love very sick, uncomfortable, or both.

Be sure to restrict your pet’s access to the following foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate/xylitol
  • Raisins/grapes
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Don’t Forget Pancreatitis

To avoid a truly terrible pet emergency this holiday season, don’t allow your pet to eat buttery, fatty, or meaty snacks from the table. Pancreatitis is a very real threat to holiday pet safety and can cause serious symptoms and lifelong effects.

Bones are also off-limits, as they can splinter or break in the mouth, causing cuts, choking, or GI obstruction.

Still want to treat your pet to something scrumptious? Prepare a plate just for them to enjoy during the family meal. Load it up with steamed veggies, unsweetened pumpkin puree, white meat, and apples.

Decorate or…No?

In many homes, the focal point of the Christmas holiday is the tree. Just be careful of fallen pine needles, which can be ingested or poke delicate paw pads.  

Also be sure to cover up the water stand. Live trees can leach various chemicals into the water, so it’s best to prevent your pet from ever taking a sip. Finally, attach the tree to a wall or the ceiling in case your pet likes to climb or jump.

Other Holiday Pet Safety Risks

  • Strings of lights should never be left on the ground for your pet to find. Risks include entanglement or electrical shock.
  • Glass ornaments and other breakable items should only be used in places your pet can’t reach. Broken glass can result in lacerations or worse if licked up and consumed.
  • Live flame candles and simmering potpourris are fire hazards and can burn pets if they get too close.
  • Tinsel on the tree and ribbons on presents (or elsewhere) deserve special scrutiny. Ingestion could cause pain and even require surgery.

Party Like it’s 1999

The holidays are a cause for celebration, but it’s critical to be extremely wary of your pet’s exposure to strangers. If you’re hosting, ask your guests to refrain from feeding your pet people food, clean up any alcohol spills, and store any medications securely.

Always do More

Remember, pets who are unaccustomed to changes in routine can react unpredictably. In case of an accidental escape, consider microchipping your pet, and always make sure they wear their ID tags and collar.

If you believe your pet would be more comfortable staying somewhere else for a few days, consider boarding your pet at our full-service pet resort. You can relax knowing your best friend is safe and sound with our caring and experienced staff.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about holiday pet safety. Our team is always here for you and your pet!