Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe for the Holidays

Keep your pets safe, happy and healthy over the holidays with these helpful tips:

1.  Clean Up Fallen Christmas Tree Needles

Clean up Christmas tree needles regularly to avoid them getting stuck in your pet's paws or throat and so they do not try to eat them. If you notice your pets trying to eat to chew the branches, consider blocking them off from the tree altogether.

 2. Take Care With Tinsel and Ribbon

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Keep tinsel and ribbon away from pets. If ingested, they can become stuck in pet's intestines causing serious illness.

 3. Be Safe With Your Christmas Tree Ornaments

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Christmas tree ornaments are often seen by pets as toys. To avoid danger, use unbreakable decorations or put them higher up on the tree where your pets can not reach them. Also avoid using any small ornaments that can be easily swallowed. Keep delicate ornaments near the top of the tree, away from wagging tails.

 4. Secure Your Christmas Tree

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Ensure your Christmas tree is well-anchored so your pets can not pull it over. Consider attaching a wire from the middle of the tree to eye hooks secured on the wall or floor to help stabilize your tree.

5. Take Caution with Christmas Plants

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Many houseplants are dangerous and poisonous to pets. Either place Christmas plants out of reach of pets or avoid all together. For a list of toxic and non-toxic plants for pets please see: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

 6. Be Diligent With People Food

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Although festive food may be your favourite part of the holidays, many of these foods can make your pet very sick. Here are some of the common ones to avoid:

  • Chocolate/Cocoa-Contains a toxic substance called Theobromine which is extremely dangerous to pets. In many instances the higher the cocoa content the more dangerous the chocolate. Consumption of chocolate can cause agitation, diarrhea, high heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  • Alcohol- Like humans, when a pet is exposed to alcohol, it causes depression of their central nervous system making it extremely dangerous. Alcohol can cause vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, comas and seizures in pets.
  • Artificial Sweeteners/Gum-Often contain aspartame and sucralose which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, comas and seizures in pets.
  • Fatty Trimmings or Bones- Swallowed bones can cause stomach perforation and painful constipation. Fatty foods can also lead to an increase in pancreatitis, vomiting and diarrhea in your pet.
  • Grapes/Raisins/Avocados/Garlic- Cause pets to be lethargic, have a loss of appetite and increased vomiting.
  • Macadamia Nuts/Walnuts-Cause severe lethargy, increased body temperature, tremors, joint stiffness and irritability while walking.

For more information on pet poisoning, please visit: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

 7. Keep Pets Away From Electrical Cords and Christmas Lights

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Pets can chew electrical cords and lights causing electrocution. Please keep these items out of harms way by using electrical tape to secure wires, or run wires through small diameter plastic piping that cannot be chewed by pets.

 8. Be Aware of Loud Noises

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Items like fireworks, Christmas crackers and poppers, balloons and champagne bottles could send your pet into a panic. Please keep this in mind when using these items.

 9. Be the Clean Up Crew

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A curious pet might try to chew or eat any wrapping paper or decorations left on the floor or furniture, so make sure to clean up all pieces as soon as possible.

 10.  Choose Your Pet Presents Carefully

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Buy your pets presents and treats from a reputable pet shop or vet clinic to ensure that they are safe. Also be aware that your pet does not ingest children's toys.

 11. Safeguard Your Christmas Tree Water

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Ensure your pet does not drink tree stand water and don't add toxic preservatives/aspirin to it. Stagnant water is also a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause your pet to have nausea and diarrhea. Secure a tree skirt to cover the water to keep your pets away from it.

 12. Blow Out Your Candles

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Never leave candles unattended as they can be easily knocked over or brushed by pets. Instead use battery operated candles, essential oils and/or holiday air fresheners, but keep them out of your pet's reach.

 13.  Fence Your Fireplace

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Keep fireplace screens closed to keep your pets away.

 14. Secure Snowglobes

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Snow globes contain ethylene glycol and/or antifreeze which is toxic to pets. If broken the sweet smell can cause a pet to lick it up which could lead to fatal intoxication.

 15. Help Your Guests Be Pet Friendly

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Ensure that your holiday guests do not leave any medications or harmful items on the floor. Since these are new and novel to pets they will often investigate and consume them. Consider providing a pet-proof container in guest bedrooms so they can store potentially harmful products while they are visiting. Also remind guests not to feed pets from the table.

 16. Create a Retreat Space

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Holidays can become too much for dogs and cats. Create a retreat space for your pet that is dimly lit, with their favourite blanket/toy,  so they can escape from hustle and bustle of the holiday festivities.

 17. Provide Lots of Fresh Water

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When pets are stressed out from holiday activity or during travel they need more water. Make sure that lots of fresh water is available to them over the holidays. Add  a second bowl of water for them in case you get distracted and miss an empty water bowl.

 18. Prevent Escape!

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With people coming and going from your house more frequently, pets can easily slip out. Consider putting a small sign on your front door to let visitors know about pets and ask them to take care when entering or leaving. Make sure your pet is wearing a current identification tag to assure that your pet is safely returned to you should they manage to escape.

 19. Travel With Care

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If your pet is traveling with you over the holidays make sure you make frequent stops for them and use a harness, crate or barrier so your pet does not move around the car while in motion. Also if your pet is prone to visual motion sickness creating a spot for them on the floor can help reduce this.

20. Remember That Pets Are For Life

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Never give pets as surprise presents! For help on deciding if a new pet is right for you please visit: https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/pets-as-presents/

We hope you and your pet(s) have a pawsitively happy holiday!

Written by Devon MacPherson from #TeamFrankie