If you’re anything like most pet parents, the last thing you’d want to experience is an unexpected health issue involving your curious pet during the holidays. But did you know that this time of year pets are generally at higher risk of possible injury and similar health problems?
This is the reason why I’ve listed down seven (7) useful and practical tips to help ensure your pet's safety during the holidays. This covers everything from holiday travel, holiday decorations, holiday plants, holiday guests and other relevant topics.
Whether you have a dog or cat (or some other kind of pet), I will walk you through workable and possible solutions in preventing scenarios during the holidays that can potentially result in a sudden trip to the veterinarian or even emergency surgery!
So without further ado, let’s kick off our discussion right away…
The 7 Holiday Pet Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Don’t Let Them Get To The “People” Food.
Holiday parties are synonymous with sumptuous spreads of food. It’s not uncommon to see tasty delights like roast chicken, pumpkin pie, beef stew, fruitcake, latkes, green bean casserole, as well as sweet potatoes with marshmallows and other baked goods, on the table ready to be enjoyed.
However, it’s very important to make sure that our furry family members won’t be able to get to these “people” foods since they could contain ingredients that are harmful to their bodies. Examples of these include chocolate, xylitol (a type of sugar substitute), garlic, cooked bones, onions and chives. Avoid feeding your pets table scraps, too!
Apart from stomach discomfort, dogs and cats—along with other types of pets—can also be at risk of intestinal blockages when they ingest unsuitable foods and table scraps. And make sure these don't get to your pet's mouth no matter how much they beg.
And in case your pet did manage to slip in a few bites of these potentially dangerous foods, administer first aid immediately. Contact your veterinarian if you notice more adverse side effects taking place.
2. Don’t Leave Alcoholic Drinks Unattended.
Have a craving for cocktails such as the classic eggnog, sugar cookie martinis, or another drink of choice? While these beverages may be yummy treats for pet parents, it is the exact opposite for our pets.
This is because the ingestion of alcohol leads to very sudden dips in body temperature, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels in animals. In some cases where the amount of alcohol consumed by a dog or cat is quite significant, this can even lead to seizures, respiratory failure, coma, and even death.
It is crucial to constantly keep an eye on your glass when enjoying these drinks to prevent your pet from accidentally having a sip or two. Some baked treats like fruitcake can also contain alcohol, so make sure you keep them out of your fur baby’s reach, too.
3. Place Plants In Places Your Pet Won’t Reach.
There are certain seasonal plants that are popular this time of year like ivy, mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly, as well as several varieties of lilies. Some people also adorn their Christmas trees with these plants along with traditional yet breakable ornaments like candy canes, tinsel, baubles, greeting cards and other holiday decorations.
But the thing is, these plants (not to mention the pine needles from a Christmas tree) and decorative items can give dogs and cats as diarrhea, stomach upsets and even kidney problems when your pet unknowingly takes a bite out of them.
In case you’re planning to display this greenery during the holiday season, make sure you place them in spots where your pet cannot easily get to them. Going for stable pots and containers that can’t easily be knocked over also helps a lot (this also applies to even non-toxic plants). This is why proper identification is a must!
Moreover, if you’re looking to keep your beloved pet extra safe while having these florae and decorations on display, you can go for their plastic or silk counterparts. As an added bonus, they won’t wilt or lose their cheery shades easily, too.
4. Use Candles Sparingly or Go For Alternative Light Sources Instead.
Candles add an extra dose of ambiance when decorating during the holiday season. For people who put up Christmas trees during the holidays, candles can also whip up a more restful and tranquil mood.
Besides giving off eye-catching illumination, candles are also often scented to match the occasion. Lighting one can easily make a room smell like cinnamon, cloves, gingerbread, pecan pie and even roasted chestnuts. A Christmas tree can also have matching ornaments and holiday plants, too.
However, candles can pose a risk to cats, dogs and other pets that can be attracted to their flickering lights and the aroma they give off. Many pets climb a Christmas tree if something in it catches their fancy. Apart from encountering potentially dangerous decorations, a dog or cat can even get entangled with electrical cords and loose batteries while they're at it!
Remember to avoid decorating with candles altogether if you don't have the proper candle holders. It is also crucial to always extinguish your candles when you get out of the room since leaving them unattended no matter how quick can potentially lead to disaster. Keep clear from essential oils as well.
Alternatively, you can go for battery-powered varieties that aren’t as dramatic but still get the job done. Don't hesitate to get in touch with a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice that your dog or cat is showing signs of a possible serious injury.
5. Give your pet a place to settle down.
Holiday parties can be a bit noisy and hectic, which can make even the most sociable pets feel stressed and anxious. While not all dogs and cats will react this way to family holiday festivities, most pets will want to be left alone—or else they will become agitated sooner or later and display aggressive behavior.
To avoid any untoward incidents like cat scratches and dog bites, make it a point to prepare a retreat for your pet in advance where he can head off to when the festivities get in full swing. You can think of it as a safe "sanctuary" for your dog or kitty so they won't be bothered by the holiday noise and activity.
You can simply choose a quiet room, preferably far away from the party’s hustle and bustle, and stock up on everything your dog or cat needs. This includes clean water, enough food for your pet to munch on, a comfy bed, as well as a few small toys.
Most cats, dogs and other pets will also appreciate it if you keep the windows open for a cooler vibe. You can keep a half-open door just to check up on your fur baby from time to time. Moreover, keep this space clear of electrical cords, non-pet-safe toys and ornaments that may lead to intestinal blockage if your dog chomps down on them.
Just to emphasize, pets can still participate in the festivities. However, when you notice that your dog or cat is already getting restless or agitated, bring him to his special room as soon as you can.
6. Store Presents Properly.
Presents—particularly those that have colorful and unique-looking packaging—can easily attract dogs and other pets. This attraction can possibly result in a sniff or two, an exploratory nudge, all the way to an excited bite.
And if the contents have any glass, plastic, or metal parts, such as in the case of toys meant for people and not for pets, it’s highly likely that your dog can chip his teeth or be at risk of some other injury while doing so. The same goes for toys that contain batteries or thick game tiles.
This can even result in intestinal blockage in some cases! The best way to prevent this from happening is to store your presents properly. Don't just leave them under the Christmas tree. You can either put them in an elevated spot where pets can’t reach or set them aside in a sealed container.
7. Remember To Keep Bags And Purses Off The Floor.
With all the activity taking place all at once during parties, keeping a close eye on bags and purses can be rather tricky. And your dog, kitty, or some other pet could immediately snoop around if given the least amount of elbow room.
Bags and purses may contain items that may be harmful to your animal family member like prescription medicines, chewing gum that has xylitol in it, or chocolate candy bars. Make it a point to have a designated storage area for bags and purses, preferably one that is elevated, to keep curious pets at bay.
While we’re on the subject of keeping your beloved pet safe during the holiday season, allow me to share one natural product you should consider including in your home pet care checklist…
A Natural Product That Will Help Boost Your Pet’s Health During the Holidays
Zumalka’s IMMUNOPET is designed to improve white blood cell count to help bolster your pet’s body’s resilience against numerous types of bacterial and viral infections, especially during the holiday season.
In a nutshell, IMMUNOPET supports the immune system, promotes a normal red and white blood cell count, as well as uses a chemical-free and gentle holistic approach to help you give your pet the quality of life you’ve always wanted.
Some Extra Holiday Tips to Keep in Mind
Give your pet time to regain their composure.
Some dogs will become anxious if they suddenly find the house full of people or when things get a bit too noisy. If you notice your dog getting tense by this, spend time outdoors or in a different place to give him a breather.
I recommend bringing his favorite toy in case he misses it and bottled water if thirsty. Remember to protect your dog against heat stroke and chemicals that melt ice while you're at it, too. (Click here to check out more winter pet safety tips.)
Have a reliable emergency kit.
Having a go-to emergency kit in your checklist helps keep you prepared for any untoward pet incidents. Whether your dog is feeling a bit nauseous during air travel or your cat got an unexpected nick after climbing a tree, an emergency kit will do wonders.
Stay calm when something unexpected happens.
Pets can find themselves in potentially severe situations out of the blue, especially during the holidays. Your dog might nip at Christmas tree ornaments or your kitty may find the holiday hustle and bustle too much. It's crucial to keep calm so you can think straight whenever an emergency situation arises.
A Final Word on Holiday Safety Tips
If you’re looking to stay up to date about keeping your precious family pets safe, not to mention healthy and happy using natural means, don’t forget to CONTACT US at any time. Besides getting in on useful tips and recommendations, our team of pet homeopathy professionals will also walk you through the products and treatment options that best fit your animal's health needs.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.