Happy Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

The holidays are a time of gatherings, lights, parties, special food, gift giving, trees in the house, holly with berries, wreaths, mistletoe, and much more. If your family is gearing up for the season, you’ll want your pets to be a part of the celebration without any added danger. After all, some holiday traditions can come with hazards for our pets if we’re not careful. The key is to remember your furry family members and their limitations (much the way you would small children).

The VCA Animal Hospitals group reminds pet owners:

“Many holiday arrangements contain lilies (Lillium species), holly, mistletoe, or Yew plants. Bouquets brought into the house by holiday guests should be thoroughly inspected, as lilies are a common flower used by florists. Just one or two bites of a lily can cause acute kidney failure in cats – even the pollen and the water that the plant is in are poisonous….When Christmas or English holly is ingested, it can result in severe gastrointestinal upset, thanks to the spiny leaves and potentially toxic substances found in the plant. If ingested, most pets smack their lips, drool, and shake their head excessively due to irritation from the spiny leaves.”

In keeping with these concerns, here are three specific areas of concern.

Holiday Decorations

Decorations can appear to be toys for our pets. Because of this, it’s important to look at ornaments and light cords through the eyes of your furry friends. Dangling them in a tempting location can create unnecessary stress for all involved.

Holiday Treats

Parties around the holidays can lead to plates and drinks being casually placed around your home. Pets instinctively “clean up behind us” and may see this as an opportunity to indulge. Be careful, many eats and drinks around the holidays can land your pet in the hospital.

Holiday Heat

If you live in a cold-weather state during the winter, be aware of the many heat sources you use for your home. Some are dangerous for people and pets alike. Here’s a general rule: If it’s unsafe, it’s time to update!

Enjoying the holidays is best when everyone is safe and celebrating. Consider making a special treat for your pets or even a special meal. Researching what your cat or dog could eat could be a fun family project and a new family tradition. Email your cuisine ideas to your veterinarian if you have a pet with health restrictions. In the meantime, include them in the fun with toys and time. Just like everyone else in your family, they’ll know they are loved.


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