time to playRemember when we were blogging about parasite prevention last spring? It’s hard to believe we’re already rounding the corner toward winter and the holidays, but here we are!

When you think about this time of year, perhaps only the good things come to mind. While scrumptious food, piles of presents, and beautiful decor certainly contribute to the general splendor, they also provide dangerous opportunities for your pet. That’s why we’ve got holiday pet safety on our minds – and we hope you do, too!

The Holiday Environment

Whether your home becomes a present-wrapping assembly line, a kitchen bake-off, or grand central for holiday dinners, your pet’s comfort level may be compromised. Even if you think he or she will be fine with additional company, set aside a quiet space for your pet to relax in away from all the commotion.

If you’re staying home or if you’re traveling together, your pet’s routine should remain the same. Make sure they continue to exercise, eat, and sleep in much the same way as before. Boarding can be a great option during the holidays, so please let us know if you need any local recommendations.

Life’s a Party

The holidays are a perfect time to celebrate, but including your pet in the festivities can prove perilous. The following items should never be left out or offered to your pet:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty meat and animal skin
  • Bones
  • Baked goods sweetened with Xylitol
  • Unbaked bread dough
  • Anything containing grapes, raisins, or currants
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Stuffing that has onions, garlic, or sage

It’s tempting to share the season’s bounty with your pet, but consuming any of the above holiday foods can result in a bona fide pet emergency. Help your pet feel included by offering up a nice plate of steamed sweet potato, green beans, carrots, and bite-sized portions of lean cooked meat.

Other Holiday Pet Safety Reminders

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention these additional holiday pet safety tips:

  • Keep your pet away from the door when you’re expecting guests. Caution friends and family that your pet should not exit with them.
  • Update any microchip information, and make sure tags are on your pet’s collar.
  • Remove any ribbons or string from presents or decorations.
  • Keep electric cords off the floor.
  • Lit candles should be kept on surfaces out of your pet’s reach (LED votives or tea lights are a great alternative).
  • Holiday plants like mistletoe and amaryllis are poisonous. Lilies are very toxic for cats, and if you suspect that your cat has ingested an Easter Lily or other “true lilies,” it merits immediate veterinary consultation.
  • Poinsettias, holly, and even pine needles dropped from a wreath or tree can lead to trouble for your pet.  Though not necessarily toxic, these plants can cause stomach upset and injury.
  • Keep leftovers in tightly sealed containers and trash bins securely closed.
  • Glass ornaments, snow globes, and other festive baubles can be dangerous if eaten or stepped on.

Remember, exercise, extra play time, and even longer snuggle sessions can mitigate holiday stress and help your pet stay safe. Our veterinarians, support staff, and receptionists are always happy to help. If you have any questions or concerns about holiday pet safety, we welcome your call.

From our families to yours, we wish everyone a happy (and safe) holiday season!