The hustle and bustle of the holidays is happening and that means lots of decorative additions to your pet’s home. Now is the time to look around the beautiful space you and your pet share to make sure the holiday changes are safe for your pet. Have you noticed that the new scents and fascinating fires have captured your dog’s attention? Has your cat already been admiring the shiny ornaments and whimsical tinsel? Our curious fur babies will no doubt be checking out each and every change happening right in their environment so keeping them safe as they do so is of paramount importance. These holiday pet safety tips will make you as a pet owner aware and help to prevent any unnecessary calamities during this magical season.

Holiday décor

Deck the halls…safely for your pet! The holiday spirit comes on fast and furious and we sometimes forget to “pet proof” our fabulous decking. So many sentimental items to put out, nooks and crannies to decorate, and it’s 100% acceptable to put twinkle lights EVERYWHERE this time of year. Press PAUSE for just a minute and remember these 4 important rules of thumb when turning your home in to a winter wonderland for the holidays.

  1. Keep electric cords out of reach or securely hidden from your curious fur baby. Ex. Behind furniture or up high (unless you have a cat and then you’ll have to be more creative…best of luck!) Even if your pet leaves the year-round cords in your home alone, they may not do the same for new and exciting ones with sparkling lights. Remember that anytime we make changes in THEIR home they will be curious, and no doubt investigate. Always remember not to underestimate what they may do when new cords appear in their space.
  2. Seasonal plants are a much-loved gift and decoration this time of year. While they are beautiful a number of these festive flowers are extremely poisonous to our pets if ingested. A few of the most popular ones to be aware of are Holly, the beloved Mistletoe, and Poinsettias. Before bringing a seasonal plant into your home check the full list of plants toxic to pets. (Need more information on toxic plants? Read our blog from July!)
  3. Tinsel and Ribbon are two of the most popular décor items to play with for our feline friends. The sparkle of the tinsel, the flow of a beautiful ribbon, it’s just too much for a kitty to stand! For tinsel the biggest concern is ingesting it which can cause severe blockage and intestinal issues. While playing with ribbons is an incredibly fun past time our pets can become tangled up quickly. If wrapped around their neck or paws it can send them into a panic and escalate the situation rapidly. In addition, many ribbons have wiring in them which has potential to poke out an eye or even be chewed off and ingested. Keep a watchful eye out for any tinsel and ribbon playing this holiday.
  4. From candles to fires, festive flames are another given this time of year. Who doesn’t love a festive scented candle to really fill the home with holiday spirit or the sacred ritual of lighting a menorah? Whether you are lighting up for fun, warmth, or practicing an important tradition always keep these meaningful flames out of reach of pets. They can become all too mesmerized by the glow or accidentally bump the furniture with a burning candle. Never keep your pet in a closed room with any type of flame.
Cute dog in Christmas lights

Cute dog in Christmas lights

The Christmas Tree

Whether you are team REAL tree or FAKE tree there are a few things to look out for regarding the Christmas Tree in your home and the safety of your pets.

  • Chewing on branches. Ingestion of pine needles or plastic can cause major blockage in the intestines as well as other health complications. If you notice your dog or cat taking a nibble it is important to discourage that behavior and consider moving the tree out of their reach. If your pet insists on chewing on the tree, try spraying some Bitter Yuck (safe for dogs and cats) to deter them.
  • Tree Water. If your dog is anything like mine, they sure do love getting a drink from ANYWHERE that isn’t their water bowl. The water in a tree stand can contain dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet. Avoid letting your pets sneak a sip from the tree base to keep them safe. Use a tree skirt to cover the opening of the tree base to keep your pet from being able to drink from it.
  • Ornaments. Across the board chewing on ornaments is a big “no, no!”. Most decorative tree hangings are quite fragile meaning just putting the ornament in their mouth could mean swallowing shattered pieces. For kitties who just want to bat at all the shiny objects or give them a good lick it is still not a great idea to let the tree décor become 1,000 gleaming toys for their safety. Try attaching securely with small zip ties to ensure the ornaments are not removeable.
  • Tree Lights. Sparkling lights are pretty much a given during the holidays, but we can be cognizant of how we position them to make them less attractive to our pets. Rather than draping them around the outer edge of your tree try placing them closer to the trunk of the tree. The illumination will still be there while making them far less tempting to our fur babies.
Cat in Christmas tree playing with ornaments

Cat in Christmas tree playing with ornaments

Yuletide Yummies

As tempting as it may be to give our furry friends delicious table scraps it’s best to avoid this kind gesture for the sake of their health. Not only are many of our delectable dishes toxic to pets our animal pals have a much more sensitive system when it comes to digestion. No one wants an upset tummy on a special day like Christmas, and neither does your pet. Consider adding a dollop of pumpkin puree or a cup of chicken broth to their regular food to spice up their holiday meal. Some foods to keep out of reach of pets include:

  • Chocolate and other holiday candies
  • Raw egg (particularly in dough)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Fruits and veggies containing pits such as olives and cherries.
  • Onions (a popular one)
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on the trash can!

You’ve safety proofed your décor from the tinsel to the tree and everything in between. We may take every precaution possible when it comes to the safety of our pets, but accidents do happen. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is critical in making sure the situation does not escalate. Make sure you and everyone in your household are aware of the steps to take if an emergency arises.

In case of an Emergency

  • Have important phone numbers in your contacts AND in a prominent place like your refrigerator for easy access. Regular vet, emergency vet and Poison Control are a few numbers to have on hand.
  • Keep your pet’s medical records in a convenient location. The more information you can provide your pet’s medical professional during an emergency the better they will be able to care for them.
  • Have a plan. Know where you are calling and that they will be open. Be prepared to navigate the quickest route to get there.
Christmas dog in reindeer antlers

Christmas dog in reindeer antlers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Keep your pets safe this holiday season by keeping an eye out for potential dangers of the holidays right in your home. From the gorgeous tree to cozy fires, making your pet’s home a safe place to be during the holidays is part of the job as a pet owner. Wishing you and your pets an incredibly happy and healthy holiday season!

Ensure that your pets are taken care of this holiday season with Just Around the Corner. Just Around the Corner offers pet care of all kinds, including daily Dog Walking , Dog Hiking, and Pet Sitting in Plymouth, MA. To learn more about how Just Around the Corner can help, check out our Services Page. You can also Contact Us for more information. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram!