7 Simple Ways to Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season

December 18, 2023
By: Adriana Valle

The holidays have a way of sneaking up on us. We’re only one week away from Christmas Eve and the days are flying. It’s easy to fall into some tricky situations this time of year if we’re not careful, especially with our pets. For this reason, we’re sharing 7 simple ways to keep pets safe this holiday season. These simple yet important tips will help keep you and your beloved pet out of the emergency vet so you can celebrate with loved ones and enjoy your time off.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Avoid Overfeeding & Overtreating

dog sitter ct shoreline

As we’ve shared in the past, many holiday treats can be harmful to pets. Chocolate, nuts, and certain sweeteners like Xylitol are toxic to animals. For this reason, keep edible gifts hidden and avoid placing goodie baskets under the Christmas tree. In addition, while you may feel like a jerk for not sharing your delicious holiday meals with your pets, avoid overfeeding, overtreating, and overindulging your pets this holiday season.

Preventing accidental or excess ingestion is the best way to navigate the holiday craze. Many pet parents, unfortunately, end up with a pet with an upset stomach or worse because they got into something they shouldn’t have, including turkey skins, roasts, charcuterie boards, and desserts.

Don’t risk it and, instead, keep your pet on their usual diet and limit treats to a healthy number each day.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Secure the Trash

dog sitter ct shoreline

Holiday feasts often generate a lot of tempting scraps. Make sure to secure your trash can to prevent pets from digging in and consuming harmful substances. MYPET Safety Paws sells trash-proofing kits that work great for this purpose.

If hosting a party, pick up spills, half-eaten foods, drinks, and dirty dishes as quickly as possible. Or, consider keeping your pet away from the gathering and food areas entirely until you can clean up.

Don’t forget to watch your pet while you’re cooking. Many counter-surfing dogs overindulge long before the festivities begin because they find an unattended bag of bread or a box of donuts left on the counter.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Decorate with Care

dog lovers ct shoreline

Christmas decorations can be enticing but dangerous if ingested. Keep an eye on pets around decorations and consider pet-friendly alternatives. We recently saw a post by an emergency vet that showed a dog had swallowed pieces of a plastic ornament and a Christmas tree light bulb, among other things. The dog needed x-rays and the vet had to induce vomiting to get these items out. Had the family not caught the problem in time, the dog may have required surgery or, worse, perished from the injuries caused by these items in its stomach and intestines.

When gift wrapping, remember that ingested ribbon can be a choking hazard. Both ribbon and tinsel can get lodged in the intestines or wrapped around internal organs. While our pets may show interest in festive decor and trim, we need to be vigilant and proactive when using these items.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Choose Plants Carefully

dog safety tips ct shoreline

Many festive plants like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be toxic to pets if ingested. We recommend you keep them out of reach or, better yet, opt for artificial alternatives to minimize the risk of poisoning.

When choosing Christmas trees, artificial or otherwise, avoid flocking, which looks like snow, because it can be toxic to pets. It can also be very messy, meaning that it won’t stay on your tree and could end up in your pet’s fur, food, eyes, etc. even if your pet is not near the tree.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Supervise Around Cords & Lighting

cat sitter ct shoreline

Holiday lights and decorations often involve cords that can be tempting for pets to chew on. Keep cords out of reach to prevent electrical shocks.

Cords can not only pose electrocution risks, but they can also pose strangulation risks. Cats exploring Christmas Trees, for example, may get tangled in a cord and, in trying to free themselves, may get their neck or a limb caught with devastating results.

Finally, avoid candles and fires that cause burns and catastrophic house fires. Opt, instead, of flameless candles and keep fireplaces secured while using them.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Set up a Safe Space

dog sitting ct shoreline

If you’re hosting gatherings, make sure your pet has a quiet, safe space to retreat to if they become stressed or overwhelmed. Place their favorite comfort items, food, water, litter box, treats, etc. in their space to ensure that they are at ease. Consider playing soft music or a soothing podcast to drown out commotion and potentially frightening noises like fireworks and animated conversation.

If you have a highly noise-phobic pet, consider using a calming supplement or speaking to your veterinarian about prescribing a pharmaceutical for days when your home will be loud and full of activity.

Be proactive before the party but also take breaks from your hosting duties to check on your pet or designate a loved one to do so. Having a plan in place ensures you can enjoy the festivities but not at the expense of your pet’s wellbeing.

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Maintain Your Pet’s Routine

No matter how busy you get this holiday season, stick to your pet’s regular feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible. Changes in routine can be stressful for animals, especially when you add changes to your home’s decor, new people, new smells and sights, etc.

dog walking pet sitting ct shoreline
dog walker old saybrook

If the holidays become too hard to manage, count on your trusted pet care provider to help with midday dog walks. At Shoreline Happy Paws, we love to help make pet parenting easier whenever possible. Around the holidays, we like to get dogs out on dog hiking adventures or neighborhood walks to stretch their legs and release any tension. By getting that off your to-do list, we ensure that you and your pet equally enjoy the holidays.

While we are taking limited appointments for the remainder of the year, we always do our best to accommodate midday dog walks for existing clients. To book your pet care appointment, please log in to your client profile. If you are new to Shoreline Happy Paws and would like to discuss your pet care needs, please create an account but note that our services may not be available for new clients until 2024.

Shoreline Happy Paws serves the following areas of the Connecticut Shoreline:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank 

There are many ways to keep your pets over the holidays but start with these 7 Simple Ways to Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season and you’ll be on the right track!

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

Related Articles

Pet Moms Are Moms Too

Pet Moms Are Moms Too

Today, we’re celebrating moms – moms to children, cat moms, dog moms, and more – because, at Shoreline Happy Paws, we believe pet moms are moms too!

read more

Get the latest updates for CT Pet Parents!