Making Sure Your Pets Have a Happy Holiday

Making Sure Your Pets Have a Happy Holiday

Christmas is only a few days away, and between parties, family, traveling, decorations, sweets and gifts Christmas can be as stressful as it is special. To your pet, this time can be full of new sights and smells, confusion and new ways to get into trouble.

As you make your holiday plans this year, take a look from your four-legged family member's point of view. Keeping life safe and stress free for your pets during the holidays is simply applying the same common sense that you practice the rest of the year.


Take a look at all that you just bought or unboxed for another year: Christmas tree, ornaments, maybe candles, but definitely lots of wires and, unfortunately, the hazards they all may cause your pet.

  • That tree is plenty big and drying out every day, losing pine needles everywhere: Secure the base and the top of the tree to keep it from getting knocked over. Pine needles can be a digestion hazard if eaten, so take steps to keep the tree from drying out: make a straight cut to the trunk before placing it in water, keep it watered and use cooler LED lights.
  • Consider the ornaments: Remove the breakable and edible ones like fine glass or popcorn strands.
  • About tinsel: If you have pets, think twice about buying tinsel. For example, if you see a cat with partially swallowed tinsel, don't tug on it. The tightening of that string in your cat could knot in your cat's digestion system and cause peritonitis, an inflammation of the thin tissue lining the intestinal wall. Instead take your cat to the vet.
  • Wires, wires, everywhere, and not a toy to chew: With all those lights and other decorations, have you made sure you secured all the extra wires and power cords from your pets, so they don't chew on one and electrocute themselves?

Holiday Sweets

Chocolate, rich food, fatty food and holiday plants can be poisonous to your dog or cat, causing illness or even death. Coffee, alcohol and nicotine are also dangerous.

Keep food and drinks with these ingredients away from your pets, prevent easy access and put them in a sealable container instead of out on a tray. Also, clean up messes soon after that big party, before your pet has a chance to root through it.

Alleviating stress

In addition to your pet's physical health, consider his mental health, and take measures to alleviate extra stress that comes from a change to the routine.

Give your pet a quiet place to hide out like a back bedroom with his familiar pet bed, toy and food and water.

If you are going to have unfamiliar people and especially kids around your pet, take the time to talk about bite prevention with them and ensure that time together is supervised. You know if your pet doesn't like to be bothered while eating or if he doesn't want to be picked up, so be sure to share that knowledge.

Traveling and Guests

If you are taking the whole family, including Spike, to visit relatives or having relatives as extended guests, they may not be aware of common pet-proofing precautions. If you are a guest, look out for harmful chemicals like that antifreeze on the garage floor your pet can get into. If you have a guest, remind them to keep any medication away when not in use.

These are all examples of ways to avoid pitfalls that could occur if you don't take a minute to consider how holiday festivities may affect your pet. Before the big event make a list of how your pet will be affected and how you can help them, and every species of your family will be better prepared to enjoy the holidays.

At, Jay Acker's editorial group makes materials for conducting weekly safety meetings, safety training programs, posters and other items.

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