For both social pets and shy pets, the holiday season can be an overload of stimulation, from bright lights to unfamiliar visitors to a variety of food and “toy” temptations. Everything you love about the season can be stressful or even potentially dangerous for your pets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include them in your holiday traditions! Simply take some precautions and be sure visitors are aware of your pets’ needs and limitations.

Bringing family and friends together can be the best part of the holidays but it can pose some challenges when pets are involved. Remember, you know your pet best, so lay down some ground rules and communicate them to your visitors whether they are dinner guests or overnight guests.

  • No table scraps from the holiday dinner – Your visitors may think they are being kind by offering your pet a nibble, but you know many of those holiday specialties can cause stomach upset or even be toxic for dogs and cats. Let your visitors know your pet will have his own plate.
  • Keep beverages out of pets’ reach – An abandoned drink can be a big temptation for a pet, but alcoholic beverages can cause illness or coma if even a small amount is ingested. Keep drinks under a watchful eye and dispose of leftovers immediately.
  • Secure personal belongings – Visitors, especially overnight guests, will likely have personal belongings that could be tempting for curious pets and lead to injury. Ensure bags, purses, and medications are out of the reach of your pets.

Your dogs and cats may enjoy visitors coming and going during the holidays, but it is a great idea to have a safe, quiet place set aside just for them if they need to escape the activity. Remember, party poppers and fireworks can stress even the most social pets. Consider outfitting a room in your home with your pets’ favorite toys, bed, food and water so they can have the security and alone time they need.

Your decorations can shine without risk to your pets if you take some precautions. Review the items you plan to use to deck your halls and adjust as needed to ensure your pet doesn’t get into trouble.

  • Christmas tree care – Dogs get excited and cats like to climb, so securely anchor ornaments to the tree and your tree to a wall to prevent unfortunate accidents. Also, consider a closed water receptacle for live trees so your pets don’t drink water that could be contaminated with fertilizer or bacteria.
  • Holiday plants that are toxic for pets – Poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are among the most popular choices for holiday plants, especially for gift giving. If you don’t want to eliminate them from your decorating plans, or if you receive one as a gift, ensure they are out of the reach of your dogs and cats, as they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiovascular problems depending on how much is ingested.
  • Watch for tinsel, ribbon, and yarn – Cats are especially attracted to stringy items they can play with and chew. Unfortunately, those long pieces of tinsel, ribbon or yarn eaten by your kitty can become dangerous obstructions in her digestive tract that may require surgery. Keep these items out of sight or choose alternatives for decorating and gift wrap.

The veterinarians at Lake Cable Animal Hospital are always available to offer suggestions and help with keeping your pet safe during the holiday season. Call today for guidance or an appointment for your pet.