Pets enjoy being a part of the holiday festivities, and nothing is cuter than a pet curled up beneath the glowing Christmas tree on a cold winter’s night. However, this peaceful holiday moment is a rare occurrence. Most pets remain in constant motion during the holidays, exploring every new decoration, sniffing out each savory morsel in the kitchen, and offering their gift-wrapping expertise by laying down on the perfectly pressed paper in which you’re about to wrap a gift. If your household is more “Run Rudolph Run” than “Silent Night,” you are not alone. To keep your pet safe amid the holiday hecticness, follow our Countryside Veterinary Hospital team’s tips. 

Keep your pet safe while cooking and baking  

This time of year, the kitchen becomes a holiday cooking and baking hub, and chances are your pet will be quite interested in the treats’ sights and aromas. If possible when preparing food, block your pet’s kitchen access with a baby gate, or secure them in another room. Clean up quickly, store food out of your pet’s reach, and ensure kitchen trash cans close securely to prevent a dumpster-diving situation down the road. When you and your guests finally gather round the table to enjoy the fruits of your labor, avoid sharing table scraps with your pet. Although you may be tempted to slip your furry pal a treat from the table, many of the foods we eat are harmful to pets, especially:

  • Onions, garlic, shallots, and chives
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Alcohol 
  • Sugar-free foods containing xylitol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts

Keep your pet safe when the door is open

Holiday package deliveries and friends’ arrivals and departures provide many opportunities for a curious or fearful pet to dash out the door. If your pet is prone to bolting out, keep a leash near the door, and leash your pet before opening up for deliveries or unexpected visitors. If you know guests will be coming over, block your pet’s door access with a baby gate, or keep them in another room until all of your guests have arrived. 

For peace of mind, ensure your pet is properly identified to help increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with you should they go missing. Provide your pet with the following identification:

  • Ensure your pet wears a collar with identification tags— Ensure your pet wears a well-fitted collar and identification tags that have your current contact information.
  • Microchip your pet — By having your pet microchipped, you greatly improve your pet’s chances that they will be returned if they get lost. However, you also must ensure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.

Keep your pet safe while entertaining

If your holiday plans include hosting a gathering at your home, take time before the celebration to plan for your pet’s needs. Consider your pet’s comfort level around new people. If your pet is especially sensitive to noise and chaos, and easily becomes upset when your home is full of unfamiliar people, keep your furry pal in a safe, quiet area, away from the main party, and provide them with cozy bedding and familiar toys. If your pet is social and enjoys mingling with people, alert your guests to the house rules before they arrive for the party. To ensure your pet’s safety during your holiday gathering, remind your guests of the following:

  • To prevent your pet from getting into potentially toxic items, such as gum, candy, chocolate, or medication, hang up coats, bags, and purses. 
  • All children must ask an adult before interacting with your pet. In addition, ensure an adult fully supervises all child-pet interactions.
  • Do not feed your pet human food.
  • Open and close doors quickly, and vigilantly ensure your pet stays in the house. 

Keep your pet safe when decking the halls 

While holiday decorations are festive, they can pose risks to pets. To protect your pet from decoration disasters, follow these tips:

  • Secure the Christmas tree — Whether your Christmas tree is live or artificial, your pet is going to be interested. A Christmas tree that is not securely anchored can fall on and possibly injure your pet. So, ensure your tree stand adequately supports your Christmas tree. 
  • Decorate carefully — Along with ensuring the tree is securely anchored, make sure you place ornaments and lights on higher branches, out of curious pets’ reach. Avoid tinsel, which, if your pet ingests it, is extremely dangerous and may require emergency surgical removal.
  • Hide electrical cords — If your pet chews an electrical cord, they can be electrocuted, so tuck all electrical cords out of sight, where your pet cannot chew them. 

Follow these tips to help ensure your pet has a safe holiday. However, if your furry pal gets into trouble, contact our Countryside Veterinary Hospital team.