Pet safety during holidays

While the holiday season is filled with joy, warmth and good cheer for people, it can be a time of potential hazards for our pets. From delicious foods that may be toxic, to holiday decorations that can turn out to be dangerous, it’s important to take steps to keep our pets safe during the holidays. To make sure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season this year, here are some tips on pet safety that can help.

Keep Your Pets Away From The Christmas Tree

It’s hard to imagine the holiday season without a Christmas tree twinkling in your living room. However, these holiday staples can pose a real danger to dogs and cats. The branches can cause injury if your pet decides to climb the tree or if it somehow topples over. Ingesting needles can also lead to digestive issues.

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Moreover, water in the tree stand often harbors bacteria that can make your pet sick. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep your pets away from the tree or at least supervise them when they are around it. You can use a pet gate or keep the room where the tree is located off-limits to ensure their safety.

Be Cautious With Holiday Decorations

While they certainly add to the festive spirit, holiday decorations can pose significant risks to pets, especially dogs and cats. Small, shiny decorations may look like toys to them, but swallowing these items can lead to serious digestive problems. Decorative lights can also be dangerous if your pet gets tangled in them or decides to chew on the cords.

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To minimize the risk, try to use pet-friendly decorations, keep the lower branches of your tree decoration-free, and ensure all electrical cords are hidden or out of reach. Also, make sure to clean up any tinsel, ribbons or wrapping paper immediately after unwrapping gifts as these can also be hazards if ingested.

Watch Out for Toxic Plants

Holiday plants like poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and Christmas roses are common during the holidays. While these plants do contribute to the festive atmosphere, they can be toxic to pets if ingested.

Symptoms of plant poisoning can range from mild irritation to severe digestive upset, or even death in extreme cases. To keep your pets safe, it’s best to avoid these plants altogether. If you can’t resist their holiday charm, make sure they are placed somewhere your pets can’t reach.

Be Careful With Holiday Foods

Holiday meals are often the highlights of the season. However, many traditional holiday foods can be harmful, even deadly, to pets. Foods like chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and foods sweetened with xylitol are all toxic to dogs and cats.

Not to mention, fatty, spicy foods or foods with bones can cause digestive issues. So, as much as your pets might beg for a taste, it’s best to keep your holiday feast out of their reach. Instead, give them a pet-safe treat to enjoy while you eat your meal.

Make Sure Your Pet Feels Safe During Festivities

Holidays often mean noisy celebrations and a house full of guests. While some pets might enjoy the extra attention, others can become stressed and overwhelmed. If your pet is not comfortable around crowds or loud noises, make sure they have a quiet, safe place to retreat.

Additionally, it’s essential to keep a regular routine as much as possible during the holiday season. Regular feeding times, walks, and play sessions can provide a sense of normalcy in the midst of the holiday chaos.

Remember, holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness for all family members, including our pets. By following these tips, you can help ensure your pets stay safe and happy throughout the holiday season.

Keep Your Pet’s Environment Safe

Creating a safe environment for your pets is a crucial part of pet safety, especially during the holiday season. With the festive celebrations in full swing, more hazards than usual may be present in your home. As responsible pet owners, it’s our duty to recognize and remove these potential dangers to protect our beloved dogs and cats.

In San Diego and other places alike, holiday pet safety becomes a significant concern during this season. One common hazard is the presence of Christmas trees, which as mentioned before, pose several risks, from the sharp needles to the bacteria-infested water in the tree stand. However, apart from these, the ornaments we decorate our trees with can also be harmful.

Ornaments made of glass or other breakable materials can shatter and injure your pet. Moreover, the shiny tinsel and ribbons that adorn the tree may attract your pet’s attention, leading them to ingest these dangerous items. To ensure your pets’ safety, use shatter-proof ornaments and avoid using tinsel or ribbons on the tree.

Another potential danger is the presence of electric cords and lights. Pets may be tempted to chew on these, risking electric shock or burns. The best way to avoid this is to secure all cords and keep them out of reach. Similarly, candles should never be left unattended, as pets could knock them over and start a fire.

Know What to Do in Case of Emergency

Despite all our precautions, accidents can still happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to be prepared and know what to do in case of an emergency. Recognizing the signs of distress or discomfort in your pet could be the difference between life and death.

If your pet ingests a toxic item, they may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite. If you notice any of these signs, it’s imperative that you contact your vet immediately. Keep the number of your local vet and the San Diego Humane Society on hand, as they provide emergency services and can offer guidance in such situations.

Similarly, if your pet gets injured from a Christmas tree or decoration, seek immediate medical attention. Always remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Recognizing and responding to these signs promptly can significantly improve your pet’s chances of recovery.


The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration. However, it’s essential to remember that our festive traditions can create potential hazards for our pets. From toxic holiday plants to potentially dangerous Christmas trees and decorations, pet safety during the holidays requires careful consideration and proactive measures.

By following these safety tips, we can ensure that our dogs and cats enjoy the holiday season as much as we do. Keep your pets away from the Christmas tree, be cautious with holiday decorations, watch out for toxic plants, be careful with holiday foods, and make sure your pet feels safe during festivities. And critically, keep your pet’s environment safe and know what to do in case of emergency.

The well-being of our pets is our responsibility. Let’s do our part and ensure that our fur friends have a safe and happy holiday season, free from harm and full of love. Remember, a happy pet makes a happy home!

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