Pets Safe During the Holidays

You've decorated for the holidays, bought a slew of presents and are looking forward to opening your home to guests. But before you do, it's important to ensure that your pets will be safe this holiday season. The following are four tips that could potentially save your pet from an avoidable trip to the animal hospital.

Don't Let the Dogs (or Cats) Out!

Do you have a little Houdini for a pet -- one that views an open door as an invitation to go for an unescorted romp? Then you'll need to be especially on guard during the holidays. Package deliveries and visitors mean that you'll be opening your door more frequently, giving your pet ample opportunities to take off.

Hosting a gathering? Parties can present numerous problems for pet owners. For example, your four-legged family member may get stressed out by having a large number of strangers in its home. Some fear-aggressive dogs may even lash out and bite a guest or bolt out your door. So, to ensure that your pets and your guests will be safe during your party, designate a room as a safe spot for your pet. Make sure to place a "Do Not Open, Pet Inside" sign on the door so that visitors won't accidentally open it while they are, say, in search of a bathroom.

Also, make sure that your pets are wearing identification with your contact information. And if your pet doesn't already have a microchip, get it one before the holidays. That way if your pet does escape, you'll have a better chance of being reunited.

Christmas Tree Safety

A well-decorated Christmas tree is a thing of beauty, but all of those ornaments, strings of lights, tinsel, and other decorations can pose a danger to your pets. Some lights can get very hot, burning your pet if they come in contact. And if a glass ornament were to fall, it poses the opportunity for them to eat the glass. Trees can also fall if, for example, your cat or dog jumps on or against it. So never leave your pet unsupervised while it is in the same room as your tree.

Another reason to keep your pets away from a live tree? If your pet decides to eat the needles or drink from your tree stand, it could become sick if the water is stagnant or contains additives, and the needles can poison them.

Decorate with Care

Some of the holiday season's most popular decorative plants, such as holly and mistletoe, can actually be toxic for pets. So, choose wisely and select greenery that will be safe for your pets. Also keep those holiday scented candles in a protected space when burning, as they can easily be knocked over by a leaping cat or a wagging dog tail.

Christmas is for Sharing -- Except When it Comes to Your Holiday Meal

Cookies for Santa, candies, turkey, and ham with all the fixings -- when it comes to the holidays, your home will be filled with tempting morsels for your pets. Unfortunately, many of these delicious treats can be harmful or even deadly to your furry family member. The following are a few food items that are dangerous for pets to consume:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Anything that contains Xylitol, such as sugar-free gum and some peanut butter

And did you know that the holidays are also the season when veterinarians see an increase in canine pancreatitis? This is a very painful and possibly life-threatening condition that is triggered by a pet overindulging in fatty and rich foods. So, make sure to keep all of your holiday goodies well out of the reach of counter surfers and also ask your guests not to feed table scraps to your pets.

If any of these incidents happen to your pet, it could lead to an unwanted trip to the vet and some unexpected, expensive vet bills that you may not be able to afford - especially during the holiday season. If this happens to you and your holiday wish is to be able to afford your pets surgery or treatment, turn to Waggle, a crowdfunding for pets’ organization. They could be a lifesaver (literally) this holiday season.

Sadly, these animal welfare organizations are also often in need of pet medical bill assistance. Your donation to one of the many campaigns would be one of the greatest gifts you could give this holiday season. Take a look at the animals that need help. By donating, you might be the one to save a life!