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7 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

cat sitting in holiday present box

Happy Paw-lidays!

The holidays are in full swing! We hope everyone is having a wonderful time with friends and family. This month, we wanted to provide you with some pet safety tips to keep your furry family members out of trouble! The holidays should be a time of joy and good cheer—not a trip to the emergency hospital.

While we hope you won’t need us, if your pet does require emergency care over the holidays, we are here for you 24/7/365.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

  1. Secure your decorations.

Animals are curious and may be tempted to chew on or swallow decorations. Cats, in particular, are attracted to sparkly, shiny things, so we recommend replacing tinsel with other materials. Remember that many ornaments are made of ceramic or glass, which can cut your pet if broken.

Secure your Christmas tree to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from tipping over. When you are away from home, place a fence around your tree or keep your pet in a separate room.

  1. Keep pets away from electric lights.

Electric lights and extension cords can be safety hazards such as electric shock. Cover your cords with electric tape or wrap them along the walls and away from the ground. When you are not home to monitor your pet, it’s best to unplug your decorations.

  1. Place candles high and away from pets’ reach.

Most pets will instinctively shy away from flames, but the fragrances may lure the curious animal. Place all candles (scented and unscented) out of reach. Liquid fragrances can not only burn your pet’s tongue, but can also be toxic when ingested. Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles, and automatic air-freshener sprays.

  1. Create a safe space for pets when having visitors over.

Just like people, some pets enjoy having visitors come to their home, while others feel stressed and overwhelmed. If your pet experiences anxiety when seeing new people, create a warm, safe, quiet place for him or her in your home. Check on them frequently to let them know you are near.

Dr Lindsay Tangeman with puppy patient

This little guy takes a nap with Dr. Lindsay Tangeman in the ER after receiving treatment for swallowing medication. He’s okay now!

Advise visitors to close all doors on their way in and out. And make sure your pet’s ID tag information is current and on them at all times.

  1. Store medications securely.

Ask holiday houseguests to keep their medications securely out of reach. If you think your pet may have ingested medication, even over-the-counter drugs, please take them to an emergency hospital immediately.

  1. Food alert – Some human foods are poisonous to pets!

Keep all chocolate and gifts that could be chocolate, away from your pets – even if they are wrapped in a box.

This is also true of sweets containing xylitol. Many low-calorie and sugar-free sweets, gum, and even some types of peanut butter contain this natural sweetener. Xylitol is dangerous to dogs as it can cause low blood sugar and liver failure.

And many nuts can be harmful as well! Peanuts, cashews, and small hazelnuts are ok in small amounts. Say NO! to almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and hickory nuts! Check out this infographic about all nuts that are not great for and dogs and then scroll to see the list of good nuts and bad nuts for dogs.

You can see a list of top human foods toxic to pets in ASPCA’s article on “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.”

Pets may not exhibit any signs of having eaten something poisonous until several hours later. If you suspect your pet has ingested something potentially toxic, don’t wait. Seek emergency care promptly.

  1. Know which holiday plants are toxic to your pet

There are a few seasonal plants that are dangerous when ingested. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, pine needles can cause upset stomach and irritate your pet’s mouth. Ingested in large quantities, the needles can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract.

Mistletoe can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. It can also result in cardiovascular problems. Holly is another seasonal plant that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.

Learn more about toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs, cats, and horses from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

We hope these tips provide you with helpful information to keep your home a safe place for your pets. Please share this post with fellow pet owners to keep all furry friends happy throughout the holidays.

From the whole team at VSEC Thousand Oaks, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday!

Share this “Pet Safety for the Holidays” Poster!

Pet Care Pet Holiday Safety Poster Infographic

Click image to view and download full size.


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