Winter Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

The holidays are an exciting time for you and your pets; lots of new people to greet and lots of delicious meals to smell. There are also ways the holidays can be overwhelming for your pets and some things that can pose a danger to your furry friends. Here’s another handy list to help keep all your four-legged houseguests safe this winter holiday season.

 

Be careful what you leave out

  • Tinsel and Christmas tree ornaments: tinsel will make your tree look beautiful, but it will make your pet sick if eaten, and ornaments look just like toys to your pets. If they fall off the tree while unattended they can break and become hazardous. Not to be alarmist, but a Christmas tree is basically decorated with choking hazards and electricity, so it’s best to keep your decorations out of paws reach. 
  • Snack and candies: The holiday season is a time for candy bowls full of chocolates and platters filled with treats. Your pet will think these snacks are a delicious gift you’ve left out for them. Be careful where you leave Santa’s milk and cookies. 
  • Gifts: A wrapped gift can be enticing if left unattended under a tree overnight. Don’t let Fido ruin Christmas morning by unwrapping all the gifts before you get to them. 
  • Leftovers: After a big holiday meal, be sure to put your leftovers out of your pet’s reach. A big fatty meal can cause an upset stomach or even something as serious as pancreatitis. The same goes for dessert, chocolate especially is dangerous for dogs. 
  • Some decorative plants can be toxic for your pets check out a full list here.

 

Other Holiday Household Hazards:

  • Christmas Trees: Make sure your Christmas tree is secured tightly at the base. Cats have a climbing instinct and a tree in their living room may be more than they can handle. 
  • Candles: Candles of any kind can cause a risk to your pets and your family if left unattended. Make sure your cats can’t find any candles to push off a ledge. 
  • Sometimes the holidays are a time when people overeat. Make sure this doesn’t happen to your pet by setting some ground rules for guests about feeding the pets table scraps. Your pet will be happy just to see the visitors and have some holiday cheer in the house, they don’t need a holiday dinner of their own. 
  • With guests coming in and out, keep an eye on the door. Your pets may become overwhelmed with all the foot traffic and try to take an unsupervised walk to unwind. Take all the usual precautions, make sure your pet is wearing their ID tag and let your guests know to watch out for pets near the exits.

 

New Year’s Eve Party Excitement:

  • Keep them somewhere they feel safe – Put your pet in a room where they are comfortable and have everything they need (food/water/litter box). Your pet may feel most secure in a closet or under the couch. Let your pet go wherever they are both safe and feeling the most comfortable. 
  • Keep them distracted – Offer your pet lots of playtime! You can make your pet a toy to keep them preoccupied during a party. If you make them a treat toy or a frozen treat it could keep them busy for hours. If they get scared or anxious about the loud noises you can close doors and blinds, and turn on a radio or TV to drown it out. 
  • Make sure your pet’s tag is on their collar – If your pet does get out, our HomeSafe Lost Pet System will help get them home safe.

If Your Pet Is Feeling Especially Anxious from All the Loud Noises and Countdowns

  • Try making your dog a security wrap – There are companies that make a compression vest that makes your dog feel secure but you can DIY your own version at home.
  • Make your cat a “cat cave” so they have somewhere to hide if they need to. Find out how to DIY a cat cave with just a box and a t-shirt. 
  • Try aromatherapy for your dog –  There are blends of botanical and floral essences that are marketed to help calm your dog when they are feeling anxious. You can rub them on your dog’s belly or ears to help alleviate their stress. Just be careful when it comes to essential oils, as some can be dangerous. Here’s a good guide, but it’s always best to check with your Vet when it comes to your specific pet. 
  • Try catnip for your cat – The catnip plant contains“nepetalactone” oil. When cats smell it, their pheromone receptors respond, and the result is a form of chemical reaction that produces euphoria or calm. It is non-toxic to cats and they can usually sense when they’ve had enough. But over-eating fresh catnip can upset your kitty’s stomach, so moderation is key

Do you have any holiday traditions with your pets? We’d love to see your pets dressed up for the holidays! Share your pictures with us on Facebook!

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