Going into the holiday season as a new pet owner is full of thrills. Bringing your pet to their first holidays feast, taking them to see Santa for the first time, or even going shopping together are among the many things excited newbies look forward to. While we want you and your newly adopted pet to enjoy all the season has to offer, without an eye on holiday pet safety, your four-legged friend could find themselves in trouble.
First, a Safe Space
Whether your new pet is too young to have enjoyed the holidays before this year or it’s simply their first time experiencing the season with their new family, one of the most important things you can do is offer a quiet, safe space for them. Crate training is not only useful this time of year (for both dogs and cats), but when yours has a place of refuge all year long, you’ll see the benefits are far-reaching.
Same Time, Same Place
The honeymoon phase between a pet owner and their new best friend is most successful when a routine is established. Keeping this up is very important to your pet’s state of mind going into the holidays, and may even make your approach to holiday pet safety more attainable.
The Urge to Flee
Many new pets don’t know what to make of all the commotion at family dinners, gift giving exchanges, and holiday cocktail parties. An unfortunate risk to taking an inexperienced, unsocialized pet to an event is losing them. Bolting out of a constantly opening/closing front door is a natural consequence.
Please ensure your new pet has a collar with ID tags and that you’ve registered their new microchip with your contact information to reduce the chances of total separation.
Before attending any gathering, thoroughly exercise your pet, feed them, and ensure they have lots of water throughout the evening. Always have your leash handy, and walk them when you notice signs of anxiety, aggression, or fear.
Speaking of Parties…
Perhaps you’ve worked with your pet and have reached the conclusion that festive parties are the place for them. Holiday pet safety must include the following tactics to reduce poisoning, choking, entanglement, and other life-threatening problems:
- Do not allow your pet to eat from the table. Holiday food is typically rich, fatty, and decadent, causing serious problems to any animal’s GI tract.
- Raisins, onions, chocolate, alcohol, certain nuts, coffee, Xylitol, and more can poison your pet.
- Presents wrapped with ribbon or string must be off the floor at all times, preferably stored until it’s time to open gifts. Tinsel poses similar risks.
- Many festive plants, like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, are highly toxic to pets.
Holiday Pet Safety + Fun!
Don’t forget to have fun this holiday season! Your pet will relish the opportunity to eat homemade biscuits or treats, play with new toys, cuddle up during a holiday movie marathon, and go for walks in the snow.