Keeping Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Another year has passed, or is about to anyway, and the holidays are upon us again. While you’re planning and decorating and shopping, engaging in the merrymaking that makes the season so special, take a moment to consider your pets and the many hazards that this time of years brings with it for them. Despite the festive feelings, the holidays can be a dangerous time for your pets.

Between the various new and exotic things we bring into our homes that represent a poisoning danger for some animals, the opportunities for encounters with friends and family (and their pets) that could potentially go wrong, and the variety of other health and safety issues that come along with decorations, a change in the weather, travel, and everything else that comes with the holidays, it pays to take some time out and consider the holiday environment and planning from your pet’s perspective.

Holiday Pet Poisoning Dangers

Poisoning your pets is the last thing that you want to have happen, but the holiday environment and many of the special decorations and foods that are a part of it, represent very real dangers for your animals.

First, there’s the potential danger of poisoning by drinking fetid or toxic Christmas tree water. Worse than the potential poisoning danger of the tree water is the potential of poisoning your pets with three of the season’s most beloved decorative elements. The poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly that you bring inside for the holidays are all toxic in some way to your household pets, so it may be better to leave them outside instead.

Holiday food and beverages, likewise, shouldn’t be ingested by pets. Holiday sweets can cause serious health problems if consumed by your dog or cat, thanks to chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol, which are both toxic and can cause serious stomach, heart, and neurological problems in pets.

Furthermore, alcohol can have a much stronger effect on your pet than it does on you. Pets can become weak, drowsy, and even go into a coma and die from drinking too much alcohol.

Conflict Hazards Between Pets and House Guests

Another potentially serious issue surrounding the holidays is the potential for conflict that it can bring to your pets. Traveling with pets to a friend or family member’s home brings with it a potential landmine of conflict. It’s generally best to leave a pet at home with a sitter or in a trusted kennel.

If you’re having friends and family over for the holidays this year, consider boarding your pets, or at the least, make plans to keep them separate from your guests. It is very challenging to predict how most dogs and cats will react to strangers, groups of people, children, and any animals that may come with your guests. Best to err on the side of caution than to end up having to take someone to urgent care.

Other Potential Hazards

Aside from the poisoning dangers and conflict hazards mentioned above, the holidays can bring many other potential hazards into play for your pets. Open windows (when the oven heats up the house) and cold outdoor climates, for example, can be a bad mix for some animals.

Holiday decorations that are too irresistible to leave alone – cats are notorious for climbing Christmas trees and chewing tinsel, and dogs for knocking trees over and chewing on fancy wrapping paper – are best secured so they can’t become problems.

Avoiding Holiday-Inspired Danger for Your Pets

Keeping your pets safe this holiday season is relatively straightforward and simple. Keep them separate from guests and safe in a crate, board them if you’ll be travelling, and don’t bring potentially dangerous substances into their reach and everything should go just fine. Happy holidays!

Author: Giano Panzarella