The holiday season is full of distractions, but we can’t forget about keeping our pets safe. From dazzling decorations to tantalizing treats, December is a month bursting with hazards for our four-legged friends. Remove some of the stress of the season by following our guide on how to avoid pet hazards.


Christmas trees

Your cat may believe you’ve carted in a giant new climbing tree adorned in shiny toys, and your dog might think he’s been granted admission to an indoor bathroom. This tempting tree can be the source of a multitude of potential holiday hazards:

  • Chemically treated water may be toxic
  • Tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage
  • Strands of lights may lead to electrocution or burns if chewed
  • Glass ornaments can easily shatter with the swipe of a paw or the wag of a tail
  • Pine needles may lead to stomach upset if ingested

To avoid any tree-related mishaps, block access to your holiday tree with pet gates and avoid tinsel and glass ornaments.


Delicious foods

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated portion of the holidays is sampling all the tantalizing treats. While stuffing ourselves to the brim, our pets are gazing dolefully up at us, hoping for a tidbit to fall their way.

Do not give in to their sad stares, since many holiday foods can cause serious health issues for pets. Avoiding chocolate is a no-brainer, but did you know that grapes and raisins can be deadly as well? Also, be on the lookout for the sugar substitute xylitol, which is used in many sugar-free candies and desserts. Rich, fatty foods, such as turkey skin, gravy, and buttery mashed potatoes can lead to pancreatitis.

And, allowing your pet to gnaw on the wishbone will likely lead to nightmares, not fulfilled wishes. Bones can shatter and fragment, slicing up your pet’s intestinal tract or causing a blockage, requiring emergency surgery. If you’d like to give your pet a human-grade holiday treat, stick to these snacks:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Lean meats

Be sure that any of your pet’s portions lack heavy seasoning, butter, or sweetener. When it comes to what our pets eat, bland is best.

Poisonous plants

While decking the halls with boughs of holly perks up Christmas cheer, several festive plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even death in our pets. When decorating with seasonal flora, avoid bringing these plants into your home:

  • Holly
  • Mistletoe
  • Lilies
  • Poinsettias

If you can’t keep your decorative greenery out of paw’s reach, swap them out for artificial versions to be safe.


Party guests

Hordes of well-meaning family and friends can be overwhelming to even the most social person, but it can be terrifying for a shy pet. Try to imagine your private sanctuary suddenly being overrun with a crowd of boisterous strangers. An aloof cat or a quiet dog may panic being surrounded by a group of people. To keep your pet happy and relaxed during the holiday festivities, follow these tips:

  1. Block access to the door when loved ones arrive. A pet can quickly dart through during the commotion.
  2. Provide a quiet, safe resting place where your pet cannot be disturbed—maybe using it as your retreat as well.
  3. Do not let your pet feel as if being barricaded into a room is a punishment. Supply long-lasting chews, treats, and food puzzles for entertainment.
  4. If your pet does not like strangers or small children, be sure your visitors know this and that they respect your pet. Do not allow children to stick fingers into crates or anyone to force their company on an unwilling pet.


New Year celebrations

Ringing in the New Year with fireworks, party poppers, and champagne may be fun to you, but not to your pet. Many pets are terrified of loud noises, so attempt to muffle the sounds of a party in full-swing. Turn on a radio or television to help drown out any scary sounds, and be sure your pet has a safe place in which she feels comfortable and secure. After the alcohol-fueled party has ended, refuse your pet’s help in cleaning up. Keep your cat or dog away from spilled alcohol, confetti, or leftover hors d’oeuvres. Start the New Year off on the right paw by avoiding any catastrophes.


Give us a call at 916-726-2334 if you have questions about keeping your pet happy and healthy this holiday season.