How to Keep Your Pet Safe Over the Holidays

Christmas is an exciting time, with decorations to put up, presents to wrap and delicious food to eat, not to mention the chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Of course, you also want to include your pets in the festivities, from buying them little Santa hats or Christmas themed jackets, to filling their own personal stocking with a selection of treats and toys. However, it is important to remember that you need to ensure that your pet remains safe and healthy over the Christmas period, as there are many lurking dangers that could cause them harm.

So, unless you want to find yourself sitting in an emergency veterinary clinic on Christmas Eve, follow the below advice to keep your pets safe and sound over the holidays. 

Do not share your Christmas dinner with your pet

Although you may want to, and your pet is probably circling the table, looking up hopefully in anticipation, sharing your Christmas dinner with either your dog or cat is not a good idea. 

With most Christmas dinners being high in fat and salt, these calorie-dense meals are not good for your pet’s digestive system. Not to mention the fact that nuts, currants, raisins, and sultanas can be fatal to dogs, so fruit cake is to be avoided at all costs. 

If you do want to treat your pet, simply give them a few thin slices of turkey, beef or ham. 

Keep sweets treats out of reach

In all likelihood, your home will be full of delicious sweet treats over the holidays, from candy canes to chocolates to pumpkin pie served with rich ice cream. However, too much sugar is not good for your pets; it leads to weight gain and tooth decay, and chocolate can be fatal to dogs so should be kept out of reach at all times. Even dairy products can cause problems as both cats and dogs struggle to digest lactose. 

If your pet does eat something that they shouldn’t by mistake, you should contact a local veterinarian such as for advice and medical care if needed. 

Be vigilant with decorations 

It is advised to not leave your pets in a room alone with a lit candle as they could easily knock this over, causing injury to themselves and possibly setting your home on fire! Christmas trees can be exciting for pets. Cats, in particular, can be attracted to tinsel and can cause havoc in your home as well as getting themselves in a state of stress by getting all tangled up. 

Avoid purchasing holiday plants 

Certain well-known holiday plants and flowers can be extremely bad for your pets. For example, the ever-popular mistletoe contains substances that are toxic to both cats and dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Lilies and holly are also toxic and even poinsettia plants can have mildly adverse effects on your animals. 

Create a safe space for your pets

Christmas is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming for your pets, with a lot of noise, bright lights and people coming and going at unusual times, not to mention the imminent fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Therefore, it is important that you create a safe and calm place for your pet to go to if they are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. This could be in a corner of a room that is not being used, in their kennel, or you could create a suitable and comfortable hiding place in the garage.   

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