Stay Safe this Holiday Season
December brings a plethora of festive celebrations, complete with decorations, parties, meals, and other exciting activities. And naturally, pet guardians want to include their dogs and cats in the fun!
Follow these tips to keep your pets healthy and safe during the winter holidays.
Cold Weather Tips
If you are lucky to live in the Bay Area, most of your weather is manageable for your pets. However, there are a few points throughout the year that you may need to re-assess how you’re keeping your pets to better ensure their health and safety. The best strategy during cold or wet weather months is to keep pets indoors. You should also be considerate if you are traveling to cooler areas where dogs might not be used to the local weather conditions.
However, if you live in an area with harsh winter weather, be sure to visit our Cold Weather Pet Safety page to learn best practices for keeping your animals safe when temperatures dip!
While extravagant decorations can be one of the most fun elements of the winter holidays, they can also get your pet into some trouble.
For example, the Christmas tree in your living room presents a dangerous, new toy to chew on or an equally-dangerous climbing opportunity. And if the tree doesn’t get knocked over by that, Christmas lights are so tempting for your pet to play with. And pets who have a habit of chewing on wires should be kept away from that part of the house.
There are obvious fire hazards with your roaring fireplace (less so with a holiday Yule log streaming on TV), but accidently leaving a lit candle out also presents a fire hazard for curious pets.
Don’t forget about toxic, seasonal plants! Popular plants like ivy, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous to pets!
Be Careful with Food
Keep your holiday feast to yourself! Common holiday foods including garlic, onions, raisins, grapes and chocolate often prove fatal for pets. In addition to the list of unsafe foods below, we’ve included some safer options that they can enjoy in moderation.
- Alcohol and coffee
- Onions, chives, and garlic
- Blue and brie cheeses
- Butter, sour cream, and other fatty foods
- Creamed peas
- Salt and salty snacks
- Grapes and raisins
- Yeast dough
- Corn cobs
- Apple slices (no seeds)
- Some cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, and jack)
- Cooked potatoes & cooked sweet potatoes
- Popcorn (no salt or butter)
- Green beans and beans
- Ripe tomatoes
- Peanuts and peanut butter
Beyond the obvious way pets may encounter toxic foods (being fed by someone who doesn’t know better), some animals are mischievous enough to get their paws on scraps through other methods. Tempting morsels on the counter might be irresistible to your cat, while a trash can filled with scraps could catch your dog’s attention from across the room. Keep an eye out!
If you have reason to believe your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call a local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to contact the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).
Pets and Guests
If you’re in charge of hosting the party (or if your pets are lucky enough to be invited to someone else’s house), plan ahead to make the experience less stressful for all parties involved. Some animals can be shy around new people, and some people can be equally shy around unfamiliar animals. Bring treats and distractions along, like a favorite toy or a delicious KONG, as a diversion.
Additionally, make sure everyone in the house knows what doors to keep closed. Nothing ruins holiday run like scouring the neighborhood for a runaway pet in the middle of dinner. As with all holidays, we recommend ensuring your pet’s identification tags have up-to-date information so they can be promptly returned to you if they become lost, and that their microchip is registered at 24Pet.