’Tis the season to enjoy great company, tasty food, and, above all, a sense of safety, belonging, and warmth for everyone. Consider a few easy tweaks to your holiday plans to ensure that everyone (we’re lookin’ at you, pets) will have a holly jolly time.
9 Tips for Holiday Pet Safety
- Skip the Tinsel. Yes, it’s sparkly. And yes, it's pretty. But it can also be a nightmare for your pet’s digestive system, resulting in vet bills that even Santa can’t cover. A simple cranberry-and-popcorn garland is a beautiful, safe, substitution or just rely on the sparkle in your pet’s eye for that twinkly, glittery goodness.
- Plan for Your Plants. Want a kiss under the mistletoe? Love the look of a striking amaryllis? Feel nostalgic when viewing the poinsettia? As beautiful and Hallmark-holiday-movie as they are, these plants can be toxic if nibbled or eaten by pets. Put these plants up out of reach of inquisitive animals or use realistic fakes – and pursue your romantic holiday endeavours without trepidation
- Pets Don’t Need a Plate. Fido is gazing oh so longingly at your plate…we get it; the meal smells wonderful. As boring as it is, it’s true, the best practice is to avoid indulging your pet with table scraps. Should you give into the puppy dog eyes (we know, no one’s perfect), make sure you’re only feeding them small, lean bits of plain, white turkey. But do beware that iIt can irritate your pet’s bowels and cause digestive issues, including vomiting and diarrhea (especially if seasoned with garlic and onion). Always consult your vet before feeding your pet any food that’s outside of their diet!
What about the scraps? Turkey (and chicken) bones aren’t appropriate for pets to chew. They can splinter and become serious choking hazards.
Best bet? Get your pet a toy filled with a safe treat (e.g. a Kong with peanut butter and kibble or one of our Treat-Hiding Turtle Toys) to enjoy while the family is chowing down.
- Be Careful with Candles. We love candles for the cozy atmosphere and enticing scents they exude, but don’t leave them unattended! Pets can burn themselves or knock them over, potentially causing a fire. We want the holidays to be memorable – for all the right reasons.
- Keep Tags On! With more people than usual coming in and out of your home, the chances of your pet escaping through an open gate or door tend to be higher than usual. Be vigilant and ensure your cat and dog are always wearing their collar and tag. Better yet, ensure you have a DocuPet tag and have filled out all of the contact information in your DocuPet profile and have Pet Guardians lined up just in case you can’t be contacted. This will help your lost pet get home much faster, if they do manage to sneak away during the festivities.
- Chocolate Is for People. We know you know this, and yet during the holidays, chocolate gifts and treats seem to be everywhere. Practice extra caution to keep these treats away from your furry friends. In the wrong jaws, chocolate may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and an increased heart rate. In some cases, it can be fatal. If you’re thinking about sharing other human-desserts, please remember that anything sweetened with the sugar-substitute xylitol is not safe for pets either.
- Unplug String Lights. When you’re not home, unplug your tree and other decorative lights for safety reasons. Curious dogs and cats can bite cords, leading to electric shock and fire risk.
- Keep a Safe Space. The holidays can feel like… a lot. Friends and family visiting, traveling to new locations, lots of different foods and smells… Now imagine being only a foot or two tall… it can all feel VERY overwhelming. Prioritize your pet’s safety by thinking a bit about their experience when planning your merriment. If you are hosting groups of family or friends (particularly if your pet is unfamiliar with them), give your furry pal someplace safe and comfy to retreat to if they are overstimulated. It could be a quiet bedroom with a closed door or a crate with a blanket over it.
Encourage (no, require!) guests to respect your wishes. If you feel your pet is not ready for guests or needs a break, put them in their safe space – and put humans in their place too!
- Know Your Vet’s and Emergency Vet’s Phone Numbers. You have a vet who cares for your pet, but do you know their emergency number for after hours and during holidays? Do you know the number of the nearest 24/7 emergency vet if something happens when they are not available? Put these contacts in your phone – and put them on your fridge so you can make that call if necessary. You can also list your vet’s contact information within your online DocuPet profile for easy-finding!
You want to keep your pet safe during the holidays and all year long. The best gift you can give them – and your own peace of mind – is a licence. (We won't tell them how quick and easy it is.) How do you keep your pets safe during the holidays? Let us know on Instagram.