The holiday season has officially arrived and we’ve reached the time of the year where many people will be celebrating over the coming days by hosting friends, family, and loved ones.

While holiday gatherings are a joyous occasion for us, they have the potential to be stressful or even dangerous for our furry companions.

If you’d like to enjoy your celebrations while also having a pet safe holiday, here are our top tips for keeping your pets safe during celebrations.

A tabby cat with green eyes in front of a Christmas tree

Make Sure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable

Accidents happen and nothing puts a damper on a celebration quite like a stressed or frightened pet making a break through the front door as guests enter and leave.

If your pet has ID tags, make sure they’re wearing them so your pet can be easily returned to you in the event your pet manages to slip out.

Pets that are microchipped are far more likely to be returned safely to their owners when lost. If your pet is not yet microchipped, now may be a great time to consider making an appointment to have them chipped.

If your pet is not microchipped and does not have ID tags, consider keeping them in a part of your home where they do not have easy access to open doors during holiday celebrations.

Provide Stress Free Spaces For Your Pets

Between visiting loved ones, music, conversations, and the general bustle of the holidays, celebrations can be overwhelming for your pets.

When overstimulated or stressed, many pets will choose to withdraw to quiet spaces where they can relax and destress.

Consider taking steps such as moving bedding to out of the way areas or creating a comfortable space in a low traffic area where your pet can withdraw if they feel the need to.

Pets that are overstimulated and stressed are pets that may lash out at you or visitors. Keeping an eye on your pet and making sure they aren’t stress will keep both your guests and pets happy.

Consider Skipping the Table Scraps

Food is a huge part of many holiday celebrations, but not all food meant for human consumption is safe for our pets to eat.

Foods and seasonings such as chocolate, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, nuts, onions, garlic, and salty snacks are common at many holiday celebrations and all have the potential to make pets ill.

Consider sticking to your pet’s regular diet during the holidays or keeping some extra treats meant for pets on hand if you’d like to celebrate with your pets.

In the event your pet accidentally ingests something dangerous during the holidays, contact your veterinarian or a service such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Keep Holiday Decorations Away From Pets

Decorations can certainly make your home more festive for the holidays but they can sadly also pose a hazard to dogs and cats.

Make sure your pets are unable to chew or play with any decorations around your home to avoid the risks of electrical shocks or accidental ingestion that may lead to issues such as bowel obstructions.

Certain plants that are commonly used for holiday decorating such as lilies (including peace lilies, calla lilies, palm lilies, and lily of the valley), poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are toxic to pets. If your decorations include these plants, make sure they are not easily accessible to pets.

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be a stressful time for dogs and cats. If you follow these tips, both you and your pets will have a stress free celebration with family and friends.

The entire team here at Companion Animal Medical Centre wishes you and your pets a healthy and happy holiday season.