Keeping your pet safe during holiday celebrations

November 27, 2023

As we transition into the holiday season, it’s essential to keep in mind the safety and well-being of our beloved pets. With the flurry of activities, decorations, guests, and food, pets can easily become anxious or fall into harm’s way. In this article, we’ll provide tips on how to keep your pets, particularly dogs and cats, safe during these festive times.

Secure the Christmas Tree and Other Decorations

The twinkling lights and shiny ornaments on a Christmas tree can be irresistible to both dogs and cats. Your pets might be tempted to play with, chew on, or swallow these decorations, leading to potential harm. Prevention is the best cure to ensure the safety of your pets around the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations.

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Ensure the tree is well-anchored to prevent it from toppling over if your pet tries to climb or play around it. Keep the lower branches free from ornaments, especially those that are small or fragile. Electrical cords should be concealed or secured out of reach to prevent pets from chewing on them.

Consider substituting real candles with battery-operated ones. Real candles pose a fire risk, especially with curious cats that might knock them over or dogs wagging their tails near them. Also, tinsel is especially dangerous if swallowed, as it can cause blockages in your pet’s digestive tract, so consider avoiding it.

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Pet-Friendly Plants and Flowers

Holiday plants like poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and certain types of lilies are toxic to dogs and cats. Make sure these plants are out of your pets’ reach or, better yet, opt for pet-friendly plant varieties.

When purchasing plants, always research their toxicity for pets. Alternatively, use artificial plants for decoration. It’s also important to monitor your pet and contact a vet immediately if they exhibit signs of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or sudden changes in behavior.

Manage Holiday Foods and Treats

Food is a central part of holiday celebrations, but not all human food is safe for pets. Chocolate, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, onions, garlic, and certain nuts are harmful to dogs and cats.

Ensure your guests understand that table scraps shouldn’t be given to your pets, no matter how much they beg. Make sure your pets have access to their regular dog or cat food during the festivities to curb their interest in what’s on the dinner table.

Create a Safe Haven for Your Pet

Holidays often mean a flurry of guests and lots of noise, which can stress your pets. An influx of people can also increase the risk of your pet escaping through an open door or getting underfoot and being injured.

Create a quiet, comfortable space where your pets can retreat from the action. This could be a specific room or a crate with their favorite toys and a comfy bed. Ensure all guests know this area is off-limits to give your pet a peaceful sanctuary.

Monitor Your Pet’s Health and Behavior

Changes in your pet’s behavior can indicate stress or illness. Keep an eye out for signs such as loss of appetite, unusual aggression, excessive grooming, or changes in toilet habits.

Take time each day during the holidays to maintain your pet’s regular exercise and feeding routine. These consistent routines will help reduce their stress levels.

Remember, the holidays are meant to be a joyous time for everyone in the family, including your pets. By considering their needs during this busy time, you can ensure they stay safe and enjoy the festivities as much as you do.

Your pet’s safety and welfare are crucial. As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to make adjustments to our holiday routines and celebrations to ensure our pets are safe, stress-free, and healthy.

Prepare for Emergencies and Consult Your Veterinarian

Regardless of all the precautions you take, accidents can happen. It’s essential to be prepared for any emergencies that may occur during the holiday season. Keep your veterinarian’s contact information easily accessible and know the location of the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.

While we want to believe we can handle any situation that arises, certain circumstances necessitate prompt professional attention. Prompt action can be the difference between life and death in some incidents. If your dog or cat exhibits symptoms of distress, such as difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, or loss of consciousness, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian immediately.

It’s also a good idea to have a first-aid kit for your pet. This kit should include items like bandages, tweezers, a digital thermometer, a blanket, and a leash. Having these items on hand can help you respond effectively to minor injuries or discomforts your pet may experience.

Moreover, if your pet is prone to anxiety during holidays or when there are changes in their environment, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions. They might recommend specific calming products or medications to help keep your pet comfortable during these potentially stressful times.

Develop a Holiday Pet Routine

Routines provide safety and comfort for dogs and cats. Despite the holiday hustle, strive to maintain a semblance of normalcy for your pet. Regular feeding times, play sessions, walks, and cuddles can reassure your pet and reduce their stress levels.

Make sure your pet gets enough exercise during the holidays. Physical activity is an excellent way for pets to burn off energy and reduce anxiety. Consider scheduling playtime before your guests arrive. A tired dog or cat is often a well-behaved and relaxed pet.

When it comes to feeding, stick to your pet’s regular diet. Changes in diet, particularly with indulgent holiday foods, can lead to upset stomachs, diarrhea, or even more severe health issues.


Ensuring your pet’s safety during the holiday season involves more than just protecting them from the Christmas tree or keeping toxic holiday plants out of reach. It’s about understanding their needs and making necessary adjustments to your holiday celebrations.

Remember, your pets are part of your family, and the holiday season should be a joyous time for them too. With a little planning and consideration, you can ensure that your dogs and cats have a safe, stress-free, and enjoyable holiday.

In case of any emergency, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Remember, your actions can make all the difference during the holidays. Begin preparing now to provide a safe and comfortable holiday environment for your pets.

After all, the goal is to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, and this includes our furry friends too. Keep your pet safe and have a wonderful holiday season!

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