The Do’s and Don’t for Pets—Holiday Edition

Dog and kid on christmas.

There’s a lot to celebrate this holiday season: friends, family, and of course, our beloved pets.

Ensure your pet has all they need for a  pet-friendly holiday. Here are some tips for keeping your dog or cat safe and happy around the holidays.

Do Limit the Treats

You love your pets and want them to have fun, too! But when setting out cookies for Santa or putting out trays of Christmas-themed chocolates for guests, remember your pet shouldn’t get more than their daily allotment of food. While it’s okay to give your pet the occasional (but still healthy) extra holiday treat, it’s best to maintain their usual diet.

Don’t forget that just like people, pets can be allergic or sensitive to certain foods and ingredients. Avoid giving your pet table scraps, especially if they’re high in fat or sugar. And remember: Never give chocolate as a treat!

Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone for Too Long

The holiday season is a whirl of activities: shopping, visiting loved ones, baking, and parties. You’re probably busy, but remember not to leave your pet alone for too long to avoid them becoming bored or anxious.

When you leave home, ensure your pet will be safe while you’re gone. And if you take your pet along on holiday errands, don’t leave them in the car for any length of time in cold temperatures. Prolonged exposure to cold can result in frostbite or hypothermia.

Do Keep Your Pet Safe from Holiday Plants

You may already know that Christmas plants are poisonous to pets, but it’s important to note that the toxicity of some plants can be more severe in cats than in dogs. The most common holiday plants toxic to pets include poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and ivy (also called English ivy).

Don’t Leave Electrical Cords Dangling

It’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with electrical cords, especially during the holidays. They’re a choking hazard for pets who like to chew on things and can cause electrocution.

If you have any of these plants in your home or on your property during this time of year, ensure they’re kept out of your pet’s reach. If you suspect your pet has ingested any part of a poisonous plant, seek immediate veterinary care.

Don’t Let them Chew on Decorations

If your pet is a chewer, don’t let them chew on holiday decorations.

The following may be toxic to dogs and cats:

  • Christmas trees. The needles can lead to intestinal blockage if swallowed. Also, the tree contains pine oils that irritate mucous membranes in the mouth and digestive tract.
  • Wreaths. Some plants used in wreaths are poisonous to your pet (such as holly), and some may have been sprayed with pesticides that could be toxic.
  • Garlands, tinsel, and ribbons. These can cause choking or intestinal blockage if ingested by your pet.

Do Spend Time with Your Pets

Pets are a part of your family and deserve to be included in Christmas activities. They need to receive plenty of quality time with you during this fun, busy season.

Don’t Let Your Pet Become Stressed

If you notice that your pet is stressed, it’s essential to take action right away. Stress can lead to health problems and other issues, including:

  • Poor health. Stressed pets may have weakened immune systems, making them more prone to illness.
  • Aggression. Stress may cause even well-behaved animals to lash out at people or other pets.
  • Behavior problems. Stressed animals may display destructive behavior due to anxiety.
  • Depression. Many animals will become depressed if they’re under too much emotional stress.

Make sure that you give plenty of attention to your pet and keep them away from stress sources so they can enjoy a happy holiday too.

Do Include Your Pet in Holiday Family Photos

Your holiday memories should include the furry members of your family as well as family and friends.

  • Take pictures with them in front of the Christmas tree.
  • Have them pose with family members or friends.
  • Let them sit on Santa’s lap.

You can do many things to make your Christmas with pets more fun. We hope that this article has given you some ideas for how to incorporate your furry family members into the festivities.

If we can assist you further, please contact us. From the team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center, we wish you and your pet a happy, safe holiday season!