12 Christmas Pet Safety Tips


12 Christmas pet safety tips to ensure pet safety and a safe howliday

Accident waiting to happen

12) Candles Burn Bright: Curiosity can kill a cat or a puppy. If a candle is knocked over, a house fire can start. A pet can get singed brushing against a candle. Scented candles can be life-threatening to pet birds due their sensitive respiratory systems. The best candles are the kind you plug in.

Maybe it’s a good thing for all the family not be there

11) Stress Is Contagious:  Holiday time is frenetic, You’re behind in your holiday shopping; you’re worried in general because we are all worried in general. Perhaps, you’re concerned the Amazon packages you ordered might not arrive on time. Totally stressed out, there’s no time – not even for your best friend with four legs or feathers. As a result, the pet picks up on our anxiety.

10) Meet The Relatives: Some pets are social butterflies, others not so much. True enough, we may see far fewer relatives this year, but still strangers can be concerning for some pets. Instead of pulling kitty out from under the bed or repeatedly admonishing a barking dog (who is only scared), removed the pet from the situation. If a pet is distracted with a food toy or puzzle, the pet can’t be simultaneously be worried. Consider plugging pheromone diffusers behind a closed door, and pumping up classical music or talk radio. There are various nutritional supplements which can take the edge off as well, such as Zylkene. Even a probiotic can help, Calming Care from Purina.

Not a bad Christmas tree option to deter cats from climbing

9) Good Housekeeping: Some pets, especially puppies and kittens, like to munch on errant Christmas tree needles. They can choke on them, or they can cause a serious upset tummy or even an obstruction requiring surgery. Fir, spruce, and pine trees make excellent Christmas trees, but their oils can irritate a pet’s mouth, leading to excessive drooling or vomiting. Birds can perch on plastic trees, but they shouldn’t be allowed to munch on those plastic needles.

8) Avoid Prickly Christmas Trees: When choosing a tree, consider one with pet-friendlier pliable needles – such as a Douglas fir or white pine. They won’t stick in your pet’s paws. (They’re also easier to vacuum).

7) Beware Where You Kiss: Kissing under the mistletoe is quite romantic but be sure that fresh mistletoe is out of your pet’s reach, it’s toxic. Poinsettia plants aren’t likely to be the life-threatening hazard some in the media have propagated, though still not at all a healthy choice for pets and should be kept away.

Potentially very dangerous for this dog

6) Deck The Halls: Being merely human, we may all suffer from the ‘grandma syndrome,’ expressing love by feeding our pets treats, sometimes treats they shouldn’t have. The truth is that a little tidbit of turkey, chicken or ham – and certainly some slices of carrot or apple – aren’t likely to be harmful. However, the problem arises when you overdo it. After all, a 150 lb. person scarfing down five slices of turkey may be pushing the limits of being over-satiated. While a German Shepherd Dog might be able to eat that much without stomach upset, a diminutive Yorkshire Terrier or a cat might pay a price. For those little guys, a few slices is like a human adult eating half a turkey or ham. Most important, eating any fat or skin can lead to a dangerous and painful inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis, which can lead to a trip for the emergency vet. Swallowing bones may also be life threatening, causing an obstruction requiring and emergency surgery. Don’t trust that because the pet has never before swiped food from the countertops or the trash, that Christmas dinner temptation may not override training.

5) Holiday Treats To Die For: Be sure to keep Aunt Ethel’s sugar free chocolate brownies baked for dieting Santa out of reach of the pets. Chocolate is dangerous, and an artificial sweetener called Xylitol can be deadly.  If you’re serving margaritas and guacamole, it’s a party. However, that avocado (to make the guac) can make pet birds very ill.

4) Ban Tinsel and Ribbon: Cats love playing with tinsel, it’s shiny and gently waves back and forth. No wonder cats find tinsel so enticing. Cats can knock down an entire tree as they pull on tinsel or ornaments hanging from branches. Secure the tree. Swallowed tinsel can be life threatening. The best answer may be to hire a security guard to ensure no tinsel or ribbon is allowed on the premises in the first place. 

3) Cats will be cats: From your cat’s perspective, Christmas trees may the best gift ever. Except for elderly or obese cats, daring your kitty not to scamper up the tree is not a realistic expectation. Don’t risk hanging antique family heirloom ornaments or glass ornaments on the tree. Display these somewhere else. A small latticework fence around the base of the tree will deter most cats from climbing.

2) No Sugar Plums In the Water: Homemade family recipes or those suggested on the Internet include a list of bizarre products to add to the base of the tree to presumably lengthen Christmas tree life, and they include chicken soup, Vitamin C, dog urine (yuck!), bleach or even birth control pills. Aside from potentially making that water your tree sits in dangerous for pets to drink, experts suggest these homemade concoctions do nothing to add life to a tree. Some suggest over-the-counter products do work to prolong tree life but certainly not advised for pets to drink. A tree-stand skirt prevents your pet from drinking this water.

1) A Family Affair:  As the family gathers to open presents, include all family members, even for those with fur, feathers or scales. Often times, pets will easily sniff out which gifts are for them. Here are some 2020 holiday pet gift giving ideas.

Happy Howlidays!