- Keep your pets inside during cold weather and provide plenty of toys to keep them busy.
- If needed, provide your cat or dog with a quiet room or crate during holiday parties.
- Prepare ahead of time to discourage barking. They don’t know it’s Christmas! They just react to the change in their routine.
- Keep trash cans tightly sealed or hidden somewhere your pet can’t access. Pets who engage in trash-digging can accidentally eat foods that are potentially poisonous to them.
- This is an excellent time to get your pet microchipped. Cats especially can slip out the door like a ghost and be gone.
- Keep a leash, gate or exercise pen at the door to smooth deliveries and ease guests into the house.
Foods NOT to Feed Pets
- Bones: Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems (even death) for your pet.
- Candy: Particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol.
- Spices: chives, garlic, salt
- Citrus and pits: Keep foods containing citric acid away from your pets. Foods such as cherry pits, peach pits and apple seeds contain essential oils that have the ability to cause irritations, blockages and even central nervous system depression if a significant amount is ingested.
- Coffee in any form.
- Eggs (raw or undercooked)
- Fish (raw or undercooked)
- Grapes and raisins: These can cause kidney problems.
- Leaves and stems: From vegetables such as tomatoes.
- Meat (raw or undercooked). Bones and fats from ham, turkey and other meats can cause pancreatitis or intestinal blockages.
- Nuts particularly macadamia nuts.
- Onions, as well as onion flakes and powder.
- Watch the alcohol intake of your pets as well as your guests! Glasses set on low tables can lead to serious consequences.
Extra Tip! Clarify which home-made treats are for your pets and which are for your family and friends. You don’t want to be the one who bites into a decorated dog biscuit.
Decking the Halls
- Christmas trees and holiday greens: Make sure your dogs or cats do not chew on limbs or droppings from the tree. Ingested pine needles could get lodged in the intestinal tract, puncturing the lining or bunching together and causing an intestinal obstruction.
- Water base: The water base of a Christmas tree may contain dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet.
- Christmas lights and tinsel: Position your tree’s lights and tinsel away from the bottom of the tree where pets can reach them. Some pets climb up or into trees and can even knock them over.
- Tinsel, yarn, strings, and other items with long strands can be fascinating to pets. Avoid using these products in areas where pets can get into them. Strings of popcorn and cranberries may be especially enticing, so keep these out of reach.
- The skinny cords on Christmas tree lights are not well insulated and easy for a puppy, kitten or rabbit to chew into. Electrocution can result.
- Hang bells on the lower branches of the tree to alert you to pet activity.
- Candles: Don’t leave candles unattended. Pets may accidentally knock them over and spill wax or start a fire.
- Firestarter logs: These logs contain sawdust and paraffin which can cause an irritated stomach or even intestinal blockage when ingested.
- Plants: A number of seasonal plants are poisonous to pets if nibbled or eaten, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.
Traveling with Pets: Planes, Trains or Automobiles
- Carefully consider whether to take your pet with you on a trip. Travel can be dangerous.
- If you leave your pets home while you travel, research the pet sitter/kennel carefully. Ask for references and check online reviews. If you use an individual, ask what their emergency plan is.
- Ask the sitter/kennel to show you their Pet CPR & First Aid certification.
- Wherever your pets spend the holidays, dogs and cats should all wear collars and tags with ID that provide a way to reach you.
- Holidays are an excellent time to have your pet microchipped. It’s another layer of security.
- Take our PetTech Pet CPR and First Aid class.
- Identify your closest 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before an emergency occurs.
- Write down or store in your phone the number for your veterinarian or pet hospital.
- Research and write down your pet hospital or clinic’s holiday hours. Leave them for the pet sitter and carry them with you if you travel.
- Write down or store in your phone the number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435. Note that a consultation fee may apply.