With all the to do’s swirling around the holiday season like snowflakes outside, it can be hard to pay attention to everything! Here are some important tips for practicing holiday pet safety and making sure your furry friends are safe this holiday season.


The Space


If you are having guests in your home, let them know your pet’s names and temperaments beforehand. Does your dog like to be pet by strangers? Would your cat cuddle into someone’s arms or start scratching right away? How do they react to children? This way, when guests come in, they can meet your pets calmly and help the pets feel safer and at ease. Also, guests will be more aware of your pets and will be less likely to carelessly leave food or beverage out or a door open.


Have a special private room for your cats or dogs, so if they get overwhelmed with party noise or energy, they have a quiet place to retreat to. They are less likely to act out if they are able to get away to their own space. Keep a fresh bowl of water in the room.


The Decorations


Tinsel, ornaments, lights, candles… things we love for decoration can be hazardous to any pet!


Tinsel and ornaments are all really fun for pets to play with, but they can get lodged in pets’ intestines if ingested. Cats can be also be very tempted to climb the tree, so be sure to secure the tree itself with a sturdy and stable stand, and double wire ornaments that are particularly fragile. Artificial snow can be toxic if ingested, so avoid using this.


Keep candles on higher surfaces as you wouldn’t want a curious kitty to get too close and burned or have an excited doggie tail wag and knock the sweet-smelling flame over. Also, keep lights lifted off the ground to keep any holiday chewers from getting shocked or burned.


The Yum Yums


Candy and treats are abundant this time of year. Chocolate continues to be on top of Santa’s naughty list, and xylitol (used in many sugar-free candies) isn’t far behind. Keep these sweet treats out of reach of kittens and pups to avoid risk.


As tempting as it is to keep plates of cookies and appetizer goodies around, make sure they are out of reach of animals. You want to be able to stay and enjoy your party instead of taking a trip to the pet hospital!


During party time and party clean up, be aware of any bags of food or garbage bags that a fuzzy friend may want to tear open and feast upon. Also important, make sure not to keep any edible presents under the tree. With animals in the house, the presents may not make it to the proper recipient!


The Plants


Holly and mistletoe can affect pets in various ways, from a little tummy ache to kidney failure. They look beautiful but consider their placement if you don’t want to deal with nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or even worse, cardiovascular issues.


Pine needles can be very uncomfortable for little pet bellies and intestines if ingested, so be sure to keep the area around the tree swept up. Also, change the tree water often. The tree stand may look like a second water bowl, and bacteria can accumulate here easily.


Many people have been warned about the toxicity of the Poinsettia plant, but rest assured these classic holiday beauties are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. At worst, digestive or skin irritation can occur, but there is no antidote for Poinsettia poisoning, and symptoms will go away on their own. It’s best to have these in a place your pet does not have access to, just to be on the safe side.


A little prevention and extra attention in your holiday set up will save you and your pets from complication and give you more time to play, laugh, and cuddle.