The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, pet owners need to be vigilant to ensure their cat or dog stays safe and healthy. Many holiday traditions and decorations can pose risks to pets, and understanding these potential dangers is essential. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure pet safety over the holidays.
1. Pet Safety Over the Holidays: Mindful Meal Planning
Delicious holiday meals often contain ingredients that can be harmful to pets. Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, alcohol, and certain spices are toxic to animals. Keep your pets away from the table so they cannot access these hazardous foods. To prepare for holiday gatherings, create special pet-friendly treats they can enjoy.
2. Secure Seasonal Decorations
Tees, ornaments, tinsel, and holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can attract curious pets. Secure your tree so it doesn’t topple, and avoid glass ornaments and tinsel, which, if ingested, can cause serious health issues. Place toxic plants out of reach and opt for pet-safe decorations. Keep an eye on wires and lights to make sure they’re not chewed on to prevent electrical shocks or burns.
3. Create a Safe Space
With guests coming and going, create a secure area for your pets to retreat if they feel anxious or stressed. Loud noises, fireworks, and increased activity can distress animals. Provide a quiet, comfortable space with their favorite toys, bed, or blanket to help them feel safe and secure.
4. Pet Safety Over the Holidays: Candles and Fireplaces
Open flames pose a risk to cats and dogs. Curious pets might get too close to candles or the fireplace, leading to burns. Keep an eye on pets when flames are lit, or use flameless, battery-powered candles to reduce risks.
5. Minimize Escape Risks During Gatherings
A house bustling with guests can overwhelm pets, leading to stress and attempts to escape. Keep a watchful eye on doors and exits to ensure your pet doesn’t slip out. Add tags with current contact information to your pet’s collar or microchip the animal for added safety in case they escape.
6. Careful Disposal of Gift Wrap
Wrapping paper, ribbons, and packaging can entice pets but may be dangerous if ingested. Clean up promptly and dispose of these materials properly to prevent choking hazards or intestinal blockages.
7. Avoid Hazardous Chemicals in the Yard
Cold weather presents its own set of hazards for pets. Antifreeze, used in cars, is highly toxic to animals. Keep pets away from areas where antifreeze might have leaked. Ice melt products used on walkways, sidewalks, and exterior steps can be toxic to cats and dogs. Keep your animals away from treated sidewalks, and choose a pet-friendly ice melt product when needed.
8. Routine and Exercise are Essential for Pet Safety Over the Holidays
Amidst the chaos, maintain your pet’s routine as much as possible. Regular feeding times, walks, and play sessions reduce their stress and anxiety during the holiday bustle.
9. Keep Emergency Contacts Handy
Before the holidays, verify you have your vet’s contact information and know the closest emergency vet clinic. Should an incident occur, you’ll be prepared to act promptly.
The holiday season is a time for joy, but it’s important to be alert to your pet’s safety and well-being. With these tips and awareness of hazards, you can ensure a happy and safe holiday season for your cat or dog companions. A little attention will go a long way in keeping your pets healthy and happy during this festive time of year.