From the delicious aroma of baked goods and turkey cooking in the oven to the sight of beautifully wrapped Christmas presents waiting under the tree, the holidays bring us together to celebrate life and love with those we hold most dear. And for those of us with four-pawed best furiends, the season wouldn’t be complete without a dog or cat by our side.Our furry pals can enjoy many traditions of the holidays with us, but there are hidden dangers within this joyous time. Decorations and treats that seem harmless to us could pose a threat to a playful and curious kitten or pup. With a few considerations in mind, your pet’s holiday can be safe and fun, and memorable for years to come. Read on for our top 10 tips on keeping your dog or cat protected this Christmas.
#1. Secure the Christmas Tree – Be sure to keep curious pets from tipping over the tree by securing it with fishing line tied to the wall, ceiling, or doorframe. Block access to the tree water which could contain harmful bacteria, pesticides, fertilizer, or aspirin with aluminum foil and a tree skirt.
#2. Safely Trim the Tree – Avoid decorations that can be harmful if eaten, such as tinsel, garlands, or edible or glass ornaments. Prevent burns or shock by keeping Christmas lights out of reach and off of the lower tree branches.
#3. Choose Holiday Plants Wisely – Holly and mistletoe can be toxic to curious pets who feel like nibbling, as can lilies, amaryllis, and poinsettias. Choose safer plants and floral arrangements such as Boston ferns or spider plants instead, or decorate with artificial plants that can be used year after year!
#4. Decorate the House with Pets in Mind – To prevent burns or a fire, keep candles out of reach and blow them out when you leave the room, or opt for flameless LED candles. Prevent your dog from chewing any fire starter logs, as they contain intestinal-blocking paraffin and sawdust.
#5. Be Mindful of Present Hazards – Once the presents start being opened, be sure to keep cords, strings, ribbons, and Styrofoam packing materials out of reach of pets as they can cause an obstruction if eaten. Have a garbage bag ready to throw away present wrappings as soon as they are discarded to keep them out of your furry pal’s mouth.
#6. Keep Human Treats Out of Reach – Christmas baked goods and meals are what we dream about all year, but they are often made with ingredients that can be poisonous to our pets, such as onions, garlic, chocolate, xylitol, or raisins. Keep foods and candy dishes out of reach, and consider making treats just for your dog or cat!
#7. Secure Trash – From ribbons, strings, and broken ornaments, to packing materials and foods, the trash is a catch-all that can smell quite attractive to a hungry or bored dog or cat. Prevent them from eating anything they shouldn’t by keeping the trash out of reach or secured in a lidded trash can.
#8. Keep Your Pet Engaged – It’s easy to get caught up in this busy time, but don’t forget to keep your pet’s routine the same as much as you can to prevent accidents or stress-related problems. Walks and mealtimes should continue as usual, as well as cuddles and playtimes to keep your pet feeling safe and loved.
#9. Leave the House Secured – Before leaving your pets alone, be sure to unplug decorations, take out the trash, and put away any candy and snacks. Leave out toys or pet snacks to keep them busy and away from mischief!
#10. Practice Covid-19 Safety – Many of us are celebrating a little differently this year to keep safe. While it isn’t recommended pets wear a mask, they should avoid contact with people or other pets who don’t live with them. Be sure to keep your roaming tomcat inside for the season to limit their exposure, and replace dog park trips with dog walks and games at home. For more tips, visit the Wag! Covid-19 Help Center.