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Pet Safety During the Holiday Season

Holidays are all about our loved ones. And loved ones include our pets! The holiday season is often filled with people coming and going, lots of food, gifts, decorations, and noise.

Limit treats.

Rich food, and lots of it, often accompanies the holidays when family and friends get together to enjoy a meal together. The aroma can be mighty enticing for your pets - but the richness of the food might not agree with them. Limit your pet to just a few small table scrap treats.

Chocolate is also in abundance during the holidays. Many pets are attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate. But in sufficient quantities, chocolate can make your pet very sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. Keep it out of reach.

Supervise pets around holiday decorations, or keep them away from them.

  • Tinsel and ornaments are pretty, and are common decorations on trees. Some pets may decide to eat them, though, which may result in an emergency trip to the vet.

  • Extension cords and electrical cords should be tied up, hidden, or otherwise kept out of reach of pets. Chewing one could result in a nasty shock for your pet!

  • Pets may become tangled up in strands of decorations or in electrical cables. This could injure them if they become wrapped up, or the pet may end up pulling down the tree or decorations.

  • Christmas tree water usually contains preservatives, fertilizers, and other chemicals. It can cause pets to fall ill if they drink it. Get a covered tree water dish so that pets cannot access the water.

  • Many common holiday plants are poisonous to pets. These include the ever-popular poinsettia, as well as lilies, holly, mistletoe, and even the Christmas tree itself. Some plants are mildly toxic while the ingestion of others can be life-threatening.

Block access to the tree and decorations if you cannot be around to supervise your pets. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you notice any signs of distress in your pet. This can include vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, lethargy, excessive drooling, reluctance to eat, or any other physical or behavioral changes. Make sure you always have the name, address, and phone number of an emergency vet clinic on hand, just in case.

Be Watchful for Escaping Pets.

Some pets may escape out the door during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, when a stream of guests may be coming and going. If you have pets that have a tendency to make a break for the outdoors, you may want to keep them securely in an 'off-limits' room (off-limits to guests, that is). Social, well-behaved pets are probably okay to mingle with guests - supervised, of course - but if your pet doesn't enjoy strangers or a busy atmosphere, be kind and give him some space of his own with a soft bed and lots of fresh water. He can snooze the time away or play with a favorite toy. Check on him every so often to make sure all's well.

Pets should always wear ID such as a collar with tags or a microchip. This helps to ensure your pet's safety during the holiday season, just in case they get lost. Up-to-date identification will help to reunite pets with the families faster.