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Holidays & Your Pets

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Next to spending quality time with extended family and friends, shiny decor and sweet treats are easily some of the greatest parts of the holiday season. However, before you pull out the tinsel or chocolate chips, make sure you establish a safe location to store these items far out of your pet’s reach. No matter which holiday you’re celebrating this winter, there are plenty of pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and so on to help ensure your pets stay safe.

Holiday Decor

Mindfulness when setting up your space for the holidays tops the list of important Christmas safety tips for pets to follow. Decorations are half the fun of the holiday season, but unfortunately, most of them are dangerous to animals. 

Broken ornaments may expose your pets to loose shards of glass, and strands of tinsel may be toxic if ingested. Specifically, cats love to chase the sparkle of tinsel and ribbon, so you’ll want to monitor your feline friend closely around these items.

Twinkling lights add that extra glow, but you want to be sure to tuck excess electrical wires or batteries out of sight to avoid any curious paws. Christmas tree lights tend to heat up rather quickly, and one sniff can result in a bad snoot burn. Put your tree on a timer and never leave the lights on when you’re not home.

Fire can be mesmerizing for animals, so you’ll want to keep any candles out of reach, especially since the holiday scents often smell like food and easily attract those silly rascals. Remember to blow out your menorah candles every night along with any others you have scattered around and never leave any flame unattended!

Festive Greenery

Keeping an eye on festive plants, trees, and other greenery is essential among other Christmas safety tips for pets. While Amaryllis flowers are beautiful, they can be deceiving along with mistletoe, pine, cedar, holly, balsam, lilies, and poinsettias. If you’re not careful, their festive foliage can result in serious medical problems like heart issues or kidney failure, so it’s best for pet owners to steer clear and pick out artificial arrangements instead. 

Regardless of real or artificial, the pine needles found in festive trees and wreaths can be harmful to pets if consumed. Keep an eye on the water source to make sure your pets aren’t drinking it, and try not to leave your pets unattended with these items. It’s safest to choose a location for these decorations that’s off-limits to your pets. Otherwise, select an area that you can temporarily fence or block off if, for any reason, you’re away for the day and make sure it’s completely secure and won’t topple over on anything or anyone.

Seasonal Treats

Fudge, sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, candy canes, cakes, pies, chocolates – you name it, it’s hazardous and should be stored far out of reach. Holiday dinner may also bring temptation, and you may find your pet begging for “people food” under the table. But, It’s best not to indulge your pet with table scraps as consumption of heavy food items like stuffing, turkey, potatoes, and more can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse. Also, be sure to put any leftovers away to avoid your pets helping themselves to a snack while you’re in the other room enjoying dessert.

Changing Seasons

Along with festive decor and delectable treats, the holidays bring colder weather than usual. Although adjusting may come easier in Arizona, winter brings excessive dryness, which only increases dehydration risk. Some simple cold weather safety tips for pets, tips for hiking with your dog, or tips for those just looking to take a quick trip to the snow are being mindful of your dog’s age, weight, and size and be sure to check paws regularly for hydration. Smaller or shorter-haired dogs are more susceptible to lower temperatures and may benefit from a festive sweater. In contrast, larger, longer-haired, or double-coated breeds tend to be more tolerating and might overheat if dressed in any garments. 

Additionally, the holidays come with end-of-year excitement, so it’s essential to follow these few pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve to minimize risk and ensure safer celebrations:

  • Keep pets in a secure room
  • Make sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags
  • Keep alcohol away from pets
  • Never leave pets outside during fireworks
  • Distract nervous pets with white noise or toys
  • Clean up firework debris before letting pets outside
  • Keep streamers, noisemakers, balloons, and tinsel out of reach

Animals love to use their mouths to examine foreign objects, which poses a high risk for choking and swallowing. 

Pets are such a rewarding addition to any household. They deserve to enjoy the holidays in the safest environment possible and to be cared for as we care for ourselves and the rest of our family. By becoming aware of the different hazardous holiday household items, you and your pet will be able to enjoy a safe and fun holiday season together.



Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately

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