Christmas Pet Safety Tips

christmas tree

 

Christmas Pet Safety Tips

Extra care needs to be taken of our pets at holiday time, so read on for my best Christmas pet safety tips. 

Just because certain family members sport fur, feathers or even scales, and may have more legs than we do, does not mean they shouldn’t be able to join in the festivities of the holiday season.

In order to make it safe for our pets, we need to take a little extra care, so part of that time is not spent in the emergency room. When things get hectic, pets’ needs can sometimes get neglected. keeping pets safe during ChristmasIt may be a holiday, but it is never a holiday from the responsibilities of pet care.

Always make time to pay attention to your pets. Don’t get lax about walking your dog, cleaning your cat’s litter box, or letting your rabbit out of the hutch. If you worry there will be times you can’t give them your full attention, enlist the help of a trusted family member, neighbour or professional pet sitter/dog walker.

With people in and out of the house, there’s an increased risk of a pet getting out. Warn everyone to take extra care, or keep the front door locked if you have to.

If you don’t think you can safely monitor comings and goings, keep your pets separated in another part of the house – at least until everyone has arrived.

Now is a good time to make sure your pets are wearing ID tags, and all contact information is current.

Make a note of your vet’s holiday hours, the address of a 24 hour emergency hospital, and the number of the animal poison hotline. The last thing you want to do, is run around searching in a panic.

Now that all that has been said, here are some tips that should help you keep your pets safe, and allow everyone to have a happy Christmas

Christmas TreeTrees and plants

Anchor your tree so it doesn’t fall on your pets.

Fence it off, or sweep up tree needles regularly. They’re sharp and can get stuck in your pets’ paws, or cause internal damage if ingested.

Although poinsettias have a low level of toxicity for cats and dogs, it is still best to keep them out of reach. Far more dangerous are mistletoe, lilies and holly. To be on the safe side, keep all flowers and plants out of reach.

Tree water can contain fertilizers, bacteria, or even aspirin. A screen around the tree may be the easiest way to keep pets away from that particular water source.

When you’re out, close the door to the room your tree is in.

Decorations

Animals always seem to gravitate to the new things you bring into your home, don’t they? Imagine the temptation of trees, plants, decorations, bright colours and flashing lights.

Keep Christmas Ornaments Out of Pets' ReachKeep ornaments above their reach as they, along with hooks and fasteners, can be eaten. Consider larger, unbreakable ornaments.

Watch out for tinsel. The shine is a real attraction, and can be eaten, or become wrapped around the animals’ neck.

If your pet is freaked out by twinkling lights, buy ones that don’t.

Snow globes can contain anti freeze, which is deadly to pets. Pay attention to where you place them.

Cords are a tangling hazard, and some animals consider them a chew toy. Hide them, cover them, tape them down.

Keep Lit Candles Out of Pets' ReachAre some of your decorations toxic? Things like bubbling lights, fake spray snow, and styrofoam, are potential hazards.

Who doesn’t love lit candles, and logs burning in the fireplace? Use fireplace screens, and keep candles out of reach. Never leave burning candles unattended, even if you think you will only be gone for a second. It never works out that way. Battery operated “faux” candles are an alternative, and some are quite beautiful. While they may not be an exact replacement for the real thing, you won’t have any of the real worry.

Christmas DinnerFood

Who isn’t guilty of slipping their pets a little something, from the dinner table? If you aren’t, great, but if we’re talking about you…

When you’re sitting around the table, enjoying your feast with family and friends, it’s an exciting time for your pets, because there are so many more people your animals can beg from. It also means a greater chance of stomach problems. 

Even if you’re used to feeding them table scraps, it’s probably best to put a blanket ban on that practice for now.

Poultry bones can splinter once swallowed and cause damage, and food too rich for sensitive stomachs can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis.

Never give sweets or chocolate. Remove all candy, even sealed boxes from their line of sight. We’ve all seen our pets accomplish amazing feats, when they put their minds to it.

Don’t leave glasses with alcohol lying around for pets to lick.

Keep your garbage can in a cupboard, but if you prefer it out for the sake of convenience, make it pet proof.

Gifts and Wrapping

Of course you want to include your pet in the holiday by giving them presents. Just buy ones suitable for animals.

keep pets safe on ChristmasTake care when the rest of the family are opening their gifts. Immediately throw out gift wrapping, ribbon, bows, and plastic packaging. They’ll be swiped before you know it.

Don’t leave the kids’ toys lying around either. Small pieces can be bitten off, and cause choking or blockages.

Noise

All the extra people in the house, means lots of extra noise. Kids running around, music playing, champagne bottles being opened, Christmas crackers and balloons. While some animals have no problem, and are more than happy to be in the middle of the mayhem, others are more skittish and will feel quite nervous and stressed.

Make sure they have a quiet place where they can hide. Put a bed, blanket, water and toys so they’ll feel comfortable.

If your pet is particularly freaked out, there are natural remedies, relaxation cds and traditional medications that may be helpful. Speak to your vet for some suggestions.

Weather

Depending on where you live of course, Christmas can bring some nasty weather. Christmas or not, animal care is not seasonal. Consider limiting the amount of time they’re outside, and Christmas safety tipsputting them in a coat or sweater. Salted sidewalks can burn your dogs’ paws, so try booties or one of the protective creams on the market.

Christmas pet safety tips – conclusion

Remember to never give pets as presents. You want to get a family pet? Do it some other time of the year. Kids should be taught to respect animals, and not view them as things. They need to learn there’s a difference between an animal and a sweater.

I hope you will find these Christmas pet safety tips useful, and by taking just a few precautions, you’re in for a very, merry Holiday season.

 

Christmas Pet Safety Tips
Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

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22 thoughts on “Christmas Pet Safety Tips

  1. Thanks for reminding us how to keep our pets safe at Christmas.
    When the holidays come around we can miss these potential hazards, especially when there’s a big gathering going on. When we are in a festive mood especially after having some wine we are more apt to brush it aside. I like your ideas of safe-guarding before hand.

    I didn’t know some of the plants were dangerous. Mistletoe and holly are always around at Christmas in our household. I will be sure to put these safe.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Dinh, thanks for the comment. I thought it was important to publish a reminder about pet safety around holiday time. With all the “hoopla” – people coming and going, doors open, hazards like chocolate and ribbon lying around, it’s easy to forget. Glad you found it helpful.

  2. This is such a great article and just in time for the holidays. When I was a small child our family dog died from choking on a chicken bone. Hard lesson to learn 🙁

    1. Hello Charley, thank you for the comment. How terribly sad and frightening that must have been to witness. With all the excitement going on, it can be difficult to monitor our pets constantly. I hope this post will help prevent tragedies from happening to other families.

  3. Hi Hindy

    Valuable info , will remember not to leave my beer around for my dog to sip LOL. Just a question besides keeping them away from Christmas lunch.I cant stop my 4 month old dogs from jumping up on myself,visitors and my car 🙁 any advice ?

    1. Hi Jared, I must admit my other dog Jack takes a lick of my husband’s empty once in a while!! I have tons of advice for you. Have you been training your dogs? Walking nicely on a leash? Are they getting enough exercise? Talking specifically about jumping up there are a couple of things to try, but you, and everyone they do it to, have to be consistent and that means each and every time. Either turn around, no talking no acknowledging just turn your back to them, and don’t turn around until they stop. When they do, make them sit and give them a reward. Or, gently push them off you and say no, or off or down – whatever cue you choose. There are tons more tips, but this isn’t really the best place. Contact me and I’ll be happy to help as much as I can.

  4. Hi Hindy.

    Great article and i like the way it is all layed out for easy reading.

    There are some really good tips here. I just have a cat but used to have a dog years ago as kid. I am always interested on the topics of animal neglect as i strongly believe if you do not have time for pets particularly dogs that have to be walked couple of times a day and require general up keep, vet bills etc then you shouldn’t have one. Or if you do feel underpressure after a while just see that it goes to a good home. Rather that than neglect……good article

    1. Hi, thank you. A lot of these articles can help people who have cats, particularly posts like this one on holiday safety. I am a huge animal welfare advocate and I agree with you. If you don’t have time, then don’t bring a pet into your home but rather volunteer at a shelter. They could use all the help they can get.

  5. What a timely post on Christmas pet safety tips.Christmas is a busy time and most of us don’t take into consideration what our pets go through. I have cats and one dog and they happen to love the excitement that Christmas brings. They love hiding in the boxes and rolling in the garland. But for the reasons you explained above, we don’t use tinsile, and we put any glass ornaments up high on the tree so they won’t be messed with and dropped to the floor and become hazardous.

    What a great reminder your post is.

    1. Hi Debra, holiday time is chaos time, and pet safety probably isn’t top of mind. I wrote this as a little reminder to keep pet safety in mind when decorating, welcoming guests into the home, leaving food and drink around, and to consider how best to help the more nervous furry members of the family cope during such a hectic few days.

  6. Hi Hindy and nice to meet you! Found you on the Blogpaws community
    Interested in following your blog but I don’t see any way at all listed to do so. (I prefer following via email), so if you could add that link it would be greatly appreciated. (you may want to add other ways to follow as well)
    Also, you list your sharing buttons, but you don’t list your social media links where we can follow you. That would be great too.
    Thanks and nice to meet you! Oh I have an 8 yr old Sheltie who will be 9 next year (so I guess he is a senior)…I also have a cat who will be 9 as well. I have two pet blogs, but only linked to one here.
    Take care!

    1. Hi Caren, Nice to meet you too! Thanks for the advice. The world of websites is all very new to me, so don’t even know what I’m missing until some very kind and helpful people point it out. I hope you find some helpful information here, and I’m looking forward to reading your blogs.

  7. There are a lot of potential dangers for animals around the holidays I never even thought of! It is crazy to hear what could be in the tree water – I always remember our dogs drinking out of the tree water when we were kids. Thankfully he never got sick from it – is this a recent thing that the tree water is full of bad stuff for a pet?

    1. Hi Shannon, there are definitely lots of potential dangers to animals around the holidays, so I’m hoping these safety tips will remind people to take care. Apparently “experts” say that all your tree needs is water, while others swear by additives like bleach, corn syrup… It’s best to keep them away, and let them drink out of their own water bowls.

  8. Hi Hindy
    Another great article, thanks for sharing all these great tips. Here is South Africa we have a huge problem, not sure if you get the same there? But every year when people go away they just leave their pets to fend for themselves.
    Yes you heard me correctly, people go away on holiday and leave their pets behind. It is a huge problem and so sad. Our SPCA (Society for prevention of cruelty to animals) has to work their butts off over the Xmas period helping these poor animals.
    I wish everyone was as caring as you obviously are about your animals!

    1. Hi Lynne, thanks!! Believe me, cruelty to animals is not limited to South Africa. Every city/country has more than their fair share of horror stories. What about the people that give those who help animals a hard time? Yep, been there! People don’t just leave their pets when they go on vacation, it’s not uncommon for them to just move and leave them alone, at the mercy of whoever finds them, if they do in time. We adopted a dog 2 years ago who was found abandoned in a house in Miami. We don’t know how long he was there, but we’re pretty sure he was abused. The SPCA should seize those animals, and never return them. The worst problem I see – no consequences for abusers’ actions. You can pretty much torture an animal and walk away without even a slap on the wrist.

      1. Yes that happens quite commonly here too where people move home and leave their animals behind.
        I just can’t get my head around it! We don’t have any pets at the moment because hubby and I decided to just focus on our children for now which is a big enough job lol. But when we do get some dogs (which we really want to) they will become a part of our family.
        I found a dumped puppy a little while ago and brought it back home and it was clearly abused. It was so sad, I would have loved to have kept her. However the responsible thing was to find her a good home as we don’t have an enclosed yard at our rented home. Plus I don’t want the added financial responsibility. Yes we can easily afford food and that sort of thing, but unexpected vets bills? Not right now thanks.
        It is about doing the right and responsible thing. My kids were devastated that we only had her for a few days. Hubby and I are now quite focused on getting our own home as soon as possible, with an enclosed yard!

        1. If you have a soul you can’t possibly imagine it. You’re being very practical, knowing what you do and don’t have time for. Vet bills are astronomical, and definitely something to be considered before adding to your responsibilities. How nice that you cared for the puppy and gave her a good home. I’m sure your kids learn a lot about kindness and compassion from your actions.

  9. Wonderful and timely information for the care of our furbabies:) I’m a huge fan of gates to easily keep them safe and away from the high commotion areas during the holidays. I’m sharing this to my Pinterest account!
    Thanks:)
    -Nicki

  10. Hi Hindi,
    I just want to give you a huge thank you for this article. This is such an informative post that, as a pet owner, I should be more aware of. Great idea about fencing of the Christmas tree!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas,

    David

    1. Hi David, thank you I’m very glad to hear you found it helpful. Things get so hectic around the holidays, it’s hard to keep an eye on our pets every minute. A few precautions will make it a much more relaxed and enjoyable holiday. Merry Christmas to you too!

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