Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Follow Holiday Pet Safety Tips and enjoy your Holiday

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse'

;by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston

Until the parrot was scared by the noise of the child's new toy and the cat frightened by the parrot scaled the Christmas tree bringing it crashing to the floor, amongst all the confusion the dog ran of with the turkey. It may sound like something that could only happen in a movie, but pets can become frightened and cause a lot of damage not only to property but also themselves and others.

Christmas can be a stressful time for everyone and although we don't always realize it a stressful time for our pets also. Their normal environment is suddenly filled with strange new objects, all bright and reflective. Pets will naturally want to investigate any new thing brought into the house. The festive tree, your pride and joy as you take meticulous care decorating its many branches with baubles and bows, chocolates, tinsel and lights, adjusting and readjusting everything until you have created the perfect tree. All your efforts can be destroyed in a matter seconds as guests arrive and the excitement builds. With the exchange of gifts and all the festive joviality, all thoughts of the family pet and what mischief they may be up to, (especially if it is their first experience of a festive season) have floated out of the window along with the aromas of the festive meal.

With a little forethought and some planning many disasters can be avoided. When you look at the potential dangers that surround the festive season it is a wonder that any of us have lived to see so many celebrations let alone our pets.

Santa Claus Candle Holiday Pet Safety Tip
Candles open fireplaces

There is nothing quite like the sight and smells of candles at Christmas they give a warm glow and add to the atmosphere. Be extra careful where you place the candles as they can be knocked over by the wag of a dog tail or a exploring cat, the smell of singed hair is very unpleasant and so is the pain and visit to the vet. To say nothing of the danger of your house burning down, and possible loss of life. An open fire is really seasonal and adds to the whole atmosphere, it can also be a hazard to pets, keep a good fitting fire screen in place at all times, and no gaps for a pet to squeeze into.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip
The Christmas Tree make it Secure

The main feature of every household at Christmas,it just would not be Christmas without one. A couple of preventative measures will ensure the safety of your tree and pets. Firstly a good firm base to keep it stable and secondly if at all possible it is highly recommended that you secure the top of the tree to the ceiling, this way the tree can not be pulled or knocked over.

Live Trees

The Jury is still out regarding which is best, for me the live tree looks the best, although much more care must be taken with it. The sap from the trees which include Balsam, Juniper, Fir, Pine, and Cedar may be mildly toxic as will the preservative used to prevent the needles falling, resulting in mouth or stomach irritation.

hand holding pine needles


Along with the live tree comes the hazard of fallen needles. Needles cannot be digested and may puncture intestines. Do not let pets drink the tree water. They may contain fertilizers, and stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria. Check labels for tree water preservatives. Do not be tempted to put Aspirin in the tree water as this can be fatal to your pets, it may cause diarrhea, mouth sores, vomiting and loss of appetite.
Loose Christmas tree needles are extremely sharp and can easily penetrate your pet’s paws or throat. Clear away tree needles often consider fencing off your Christmas tree.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip
Other Toxic Seasonal Plants poinsettia

Poinsettia , Christmas Flowering Cactus, Hemlock, Holly, Mistletoe and Ivy. Lilies and yew trees in particular are poisonous to pets and must be kept well out of reach, none of these seasonal decorative plants are good for your pets and can lead to mild upsets, some being highly toxic which is dangerous for dogs and can be fatal to cats. Symptoms to be aware of Gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, coma, central nervous system or cardiac problems. Safety advice: Spray leaves with Bitter Apple repellant. Clear away and discard dead leaves, stems, or berries

potpourri with cat

Another potential hazard, Potpourri, aerosol fragrance, incense, simmer pots, the use of these can cause nasal or respiratory irritation, skin rashes, burns, stomach upset if eaten, mixtures often contain cones, needles and berries that can be toxic. Safety advice: Use in a room where dogs and cats do not have access as it can be fatal for cats.

The Attraction of the Christmas Tree

Baubles, tinsel, bows, candy sticks, twinkling lights, chocolate ornaments, a star to top the tree and gifts wrapped with loving care and placed neatly under the tree, conjure up the perfect Christmas tree. The big attraction and delight for all the family along with all the splendor comes the potential hazards!

Holiday Pet Safety Tip
The Big Attraction

For a cat all his Christmas' have come at once, how kind of you to put a tree in the house and fill it with balls and strands of tinsel for him to climb and bat the dangling balls about. For any cat this is a far to tempting opportunity to miss. This is the time to secure your tree so that it does not topple over under the weight of your cat, avoid placing anything on the lower branches and screen the tree off if possible

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Decorations, Tinsel, Baubles

The decorations on your tree can be fatal to your pets if ingested, tinsel can become entangled in the intestines, the fine glass that the baubles are made from can cut paws, mouths and eyes. Chocolate hung on the tree is toxic for your pet. Snow globes often contain antifreeze, these can cause nasty accident or be fatal to your pet.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip
Lights and cables

There is few things that are more dangerous to your pets than electric cables, your pet can soon become entangled in these as their curiosity is aroused, quite deadly if chewed. Tape down any cables and switch off when you are not in the room and your pets are.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Much has been written about the danger of chocolate to pets, so a timely reminder as we approach the festive season when there is likely to be an abundance of chocolate about the house.

cat eating chocolate bar

Chocolate is a no no for pets containing ingredients toxic to dogs, namely the bromine and caffeine. Potentially lethal amounts are as low as 7 grams of baking chocolate or 60 grams of milk chocolate per kilogram body weight in dogs. Often cats are not too keen on the sweet taste, but care should be taken in case your cat is the exception, chocolate is just as deadly to cats. Always keep sweets in a tin, avoid putting sweets on your tree, do not leave boxes of chocolates under the tree the smell will attract your dog and he is unlikely to be able to resist the temptation.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Watch for signs of toxic poisoning, these include vomiting and diarrhea in just a few hours of eating chocolate, your dog will become hyperactive show signs of increased alertness, seizures will be followed by a rapid increase in heart rate, it is possible that death will follow within 12-36 hours of consuming the chocolate. Urgent treatment in all cases of toxic poisoning should be sought. The best advice is keep chocolate well away from your pets and advise visitors not to give chocolate they may not be aware of the dangers if they are not pet owners themselves.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip
Gifts Under the Tree

Apart from the obvious need to keep your pets safe from chocolate, by not leaving them under the tree, it is wise to avoid leaving anything under the tree, as they can be destroyed should you curious dog decide to investigate, there is nothing so sad as to find tooth marks in your new along with the costly damage to the gift could come a costly vets bill if your dog chokes on any small parts of toys or electrical goods, or ends up having an operation to unblock his intestines

Enough of the perils of festive decorations and onto the delights of the

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Christmas food and drink
dog watching cooked turky

My poor dogs position themselves in front of the oven on Christmas day, standing guard over the Turkey in anticipation of a forthcoming feast, they look so put out when they get none, it is so tempting to include them in the festive meal but, it will do them more harm than good. Rich, fatty foods can seriously upset your dog's stomach and can even be toxic. It is important to avoid giving your dog the following dangerous foods: Onions which can cause (high levels of garlic) grapes and raisins, chocolate, Bones (especially cooked bones and ANY poultry bones)

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Christmas cake

As this often contains sultanas, raisins, currents, and nuts to name just a few ingredients.
Any foods high in fat, sodium and/or sugar as much as they would enjoy any of the above it would not be good for them it is important that our pets still get the nutrition they need from their premium pet food diet. Overfeeding your pet can lead to obesity. Inform your guests not to feed your pet.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Alcoholic beverages

The effects of alcohol on pets can be quite harmful to small pets a single fluid ounce of 20-40% proof spirit can cause poisoning or even send a small dog into a coma, do not share a alcoholic drink with your pet and make sure there are no drinks left for them to help themselves to.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip


Noise can be a problem at this time of year not just for the neighbors but for your animals also, the volume and excited noises that we can tolerate are far higher than those of our pets. It is often better for your pet to be kept in a separate room when guests arrive or a party is in full swing. A pet may become distressed at the sounds some electronic toys make, just make a note of any change in behavior as a result of noise and avoid creating that noise around your pet.
It has become increasingly popular to use fireworks to celebrate the new year, these are the cause of many pets escaping in an attempt to get away from the noise, resulting in many road accidents, keep your pets secure and safe on New Years Eve by keeping them in a separate room while the celebrations are taking place.

Gifts for Pets

It would be wrong not to include your pet in the celebrations as they are part of the family and purchasing a gift for a pet is very popular among pet owners. However be sensible with your selection, too many food treats at once will cause an stomach upset, “toys” encourage chewing, I would advise not wrapping a pets gift and encouraging them to tear it open as they may not stop at their own present and damage other gift wrapped parcels.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip


Keep your pets secure when guests are arriving. If young children are visiting, supervise your pets at all times Children will naturally be excited and eager to show off there new toys, this may over excite your dog or cause stress to other pets. Visitors may forget to shut gates and doors. Make sure your pets are secure and cannot escape, be vigilant. Make sure that your dog is wearing his collar and the Id tags are attached securely. Some pets often see their chance to sneak out the front door as guests are coming in. So always make sure your pet can easily be identified and returned to you.

Holiday Pet Safety Tip

Make a note of the phone number for the local pet rescue center just in case. It is very important to find out in advance the phone number and location of a veterinarian who will be available over the Christmas period in case of an emergency ask your regular veterinarian, if they are not working, they will know who is, you do not want to be chasing around town with a sick or injured pet.

With a little planning and forethought you can avoid the need for a veterinarian and enjoy your Christmas

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attribution pictures by

santa candle by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi pine needles from anna gutermuth cat potpourri from CodyR poinsettia from CodyR dog and turkey from Tobyotter Cat eating chocolate from alexgoodey

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