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Ten Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Ten Holiday Pet Safety Tips
December 20, 2023

The holiday season is upon us and it's time to make sure our four-legged pals have a paw-some time too! The festivities are in full swing and while we're decking the halls, let's not forget to keep our pets safe and sound. Here are 10 holiday pet safety tips to make sure your furry companions have a meow-velous and bark-tastic season!

Tree-mendous Precautions
The holiday tree is a centerpiece of joy but it can also be a source of curiosity for your pets. Cats may see it as a climbing adventure and dogs might view those shiny ornaments as chew toys. To prevent any tree-related mishaps, secure your tree with a sturdy stand, don’t use tinsel as it can cause intestinal blockages if ingested,  and avoid using glass ornaments that can break easily. Instead, opt for pet-friendly alternatives like unbreakable plastic ornaments. 

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Lights
Twinkling lights can transform your home into a winter wonderland but be cautious with their placement. Pets may be tempted to nibble on cords, which could lead to electric shocks or burns. Use cord protectors or hide cords out of their reach to keep your fur babies safe. LED lights are a cooler and safer option compared to traditional bulbs which can get scorching hot.

Holly Jolly Pet-Proof Plants
Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias are classic holiday plants but they can be toxic to pets if ingested. Keep these plants well out of your pets' reach or consider artificial alternatives to avoid any unwanted trips to the vet. Opt for pet-friendly greenery if you want to enjoy the festive look without the risk.

Tasty, But Not So Safe
Holiday feasts are one of the highlights of the season, but some of the foods we love can be toxic to pets. Keep chocolate, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and any foods sweetened with xylitol well out of reach. Instead, treat your furry companions to pet-friendly holiday treats. While it may also be tempting to treat your pet to some of that delicious holiday ham or turkey, it can cause intestinal upset and should be avoided. There are plenty of recipes online for homemade dog and cat goodies that will have tails wagging and whiskers twitching with delight. 

Secure Trash and Leftovers
The holiday season often means extra trash and leftovers, which can be a goldmine for curious pets. Keep trash bins securely closed and out of reach. Be vigilant about disposing of any food scraps promptly to prevent pets from scavenging.

The Snowflake Effect
It's not just the tree that might pique your pet's curiosity; the snow globe on the mantel or the dancing snowman figurine can also be captivating. Keep fragile decorations out of reach so they don't become chew toys or accidental casualties of your pet's playful exploration.

A Safe Haven
The holiday season often brings more guests into your home which can be stressful for some pets. Create a safe and quiet space where your furry friends can retreat to when the excitement becomes overwhelming. Include their bed, favorite toys, and fresh water to keep them comfortable and relaxed.

Toast to Pet Safety
Champagne and other alcoholic beverages are often flowing during the holidays, but alcohol is toxic to pets. Make sure your drinks are out of reach and keep an eye on your glasses to avoid any accidental spills or sips by your curious companions.

Season of Giving and Receiving
Gift-giving is a tradition during the holidays and sometimes, pets end up as recipients of well-intentioned but potentially hazardous gifts. Be mindful of ribbons and bows that curious pets might be tempted to snack on and ensure that toys and treats are safe for your pets. Always supervise playtime with new toys to prevent any choking hazards.

Comfort and Joy
Last but not least, remember that the holidays can be a time of increased stress for pets due to changes in routine and noise levels (especially those New Year’s Eve countdowns and fireworks!). Provide extra love and attention and don't forget to stick to their regular feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible. if you know that historically your pet gets stressed out by the festivities, you can talk to your veterinarian ahead of time about medications that can help your pet remain calm

With these holiday pet safety tips in mind, you can create a safe, enjoyable, and festive atmosphere for both your family and your furry companions. By taking some simple precautions, you can ensure that your pets have a joyful, healthy, and happy holiday season. 

If you have any questions about holiday pet safety or would like to make an appointment at Merrifield Animal Hospital, give us a call today at (703) 560-1881.