4 min read

Preparing Your Pets for a Festive Christmas Eve and Morning



The tray of cookies is set out for Santa, your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and there are perfectly wrapped presents under the tree. You’re ready for Christmas, but is your pet?

Before you get all snug in your bed, think about ways to make Christmas Eve and Christmas morning a little more manageable for your fur-baby to guarantee that they have a fun, stress-free and jolly time. These simple tips will help ensure that your dog or cat has a very merry (and safe) holiday just like you!

Get your pet comfy before Santa comes

It’s Christmas Eve, the kids are finally asleep, and Santa is just about to deliver his presents. Stealth is crucial if the big guy in the red suit is going to make a successful delivery, so make sure your pets are settled in before Santa arrives.

After all, if your keen watchdog thinks Santa is a burglar, that Santa’s arrival means it’s playtime, or that Rudolph looks like he’d be fun to chase, the big guy’s cover could be blown! The last thing you want is for your pup to cause a ruckus and wake the kids up while Santa is going about his all-important business, so make sure four-legged family members are kept well out of the way.

red setter dog wearing a santa christmas hat and lying on a fuzzy white blanket

Don't leave Christmas cookies out all night unless your pets are secured

There are lots of wonderful Christmas traditions, but Santa’s favorite is, of course, when children all around the world leave out plates of delicious cookies for him to enjoy. But if your hungry pup decides they’d like to nibble on a cookie or 2 before Santa arrives, it could end in disaster.

From chocolate and xylitol to raisins and macadamia nuts, there are several ingredients in Christmas cookies that can be toxic to pets. So if you’re leaving out cookies for Santa, make sure they’re in an area that your fur-baby can’t access.

The same goes for Christmas lights. While you may want to leave your Christmas lights on all night for festive cheer, turn them off when you go to bed and pick up any wires that are low to the floor. You don't want your pup deciding to chew a pretty strand of lights or getting tangled in wires.

Train your pets not to beg at the table

Let’s face it: no matter whether you have 2 legs or 4, Christmas morning is a very exciting time indeed. All your dog knows is that everyone is up earlier than usual, there are many new items lying on the floor to chew, and there are delicious smells wafting through the house. 

And when there’s a Christmas feast to be enjoyed, some dogs can’t stop themselves from trying to score a few extra treats. That’s why it’s a good idea to train your dog not to beg at the table well in advance of any Christmas feast.

Not only will this stop them pestering your guests, but it’ll also ensure they don’t get into any unsafe foods or fatty table scraps that could cause pancreatitis. And if you can train your dog to stop counter-surfing too, you’ll help them stay safe this Christmas.

Related: 7 Fun Christmas Activities Your Kids and Fido Will Love

Introduce your pets to any Christmas guests before the big day

Some dogs get anxious with large groups of people or strangers. Christmas Day can, as a result, be more of a terrifying time than a jolly one. 

With this in mind, it can help if you give your pets a chance to meet any guests before Christmas Day. This will give your fur-baby a chance to get to know them and feel more comfortable having them around.

Of course, if you’re having family and friends over on Christmas Day, make sure you also have a plan to keep your dog comfortable around all those noisy and excited people. Here are a few key tips:

  • Ensure your dog has a cozy spot in the house to escape to if needed.
  • Provide a comfy bed, treats, and toys to help them relax.
  • Encourage your pet to use it before Christmas so they will be more likely to retreat there on the day.

And if you can give your dog lots of exercise and mental stimulation before your guests arrive, they’ll be much more at ease when the party kicks into gear.

Related: 11 Vet-approved Products to Soothe Your Dog's Anxiety

white dog wearing a santa hat sitting next to a stack of christmas presents in front of a christmas tree

Stay safe around wrapping paper

Some dogs will try to eat just about anything they can wrap their teeth around. So when Christmas rolls around, your home can become a bit of a minefield. 

If your pup is a champion chewer, make sure you opt for non-toxic wrapping paper this Christmas. There are plenty of pet-safe options to choose from that are free of nasty chemicals, so shop around to see what’s out there. 

Make sure to keep your dog clear of any other hazards that could cause serious issues if your dog decides to start chewing. Keep cheap plastic toys out of reach, make sure they can’t get into any ribbons used to wrap presents, and make sure you’re aware of the dangers of ingesting tinsel for your pet.

Be picky with plants

Did you know that many Christmas plants like mistletoe and poinsettia are toxic for dogs and cats? Ingesting poisonous plants can have fatal consequences for your beloved pet, so while you might like the festive cheer that real plants can bring to your home on Christmas Day, play it safe. Buy plastic mistletoe and poinsettia or bypass the tradition altogether — your fur-babies will thank you for putting their safety first.

Christmas is an exciting time for pups of all ages, but there’s always the risk of your dog getting sick or injured. Use our pet insurance comparison tool to find the "pawfect" plan and keep your pet protected all year long.

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