Holidays are a fun time to meet up with friends and family.  It’s also a great time for your  important to think of your pet during this time. Here are some simple tips and ideas to make the holidays enjoyable for everyone.

Household decorations and festivities:

  • Many plants, such as mistletoe and ivy, are toxic to pets.  Keep them out of  reach, or out of the house altogether.  Check out this list of plants toxic to cats, dogs and horses.
  • Keep pets away from decorations and presents.  Glass ornaments, ribbons and tinsel are dangerous if eaten.
  • If you have a Christmas tree indoors, keep your pets away from it.  Consider baby-gating the room it is in or putting an ex-pen around the base.  Nothing ruins the holidays like your cat using your tree as a scratching post or your dog using it like a  fire hydrant!
  • Holiday dinners are yummy for us, but can be harmful for your pet.  Avoid giving your pet anything greasy, fatty, or spicy  foods, holiday dinner leftovers, chocolate, grapes, onions, or poultry bones.

When visitors arrive:

  • Keep your pets away from the front door  to prevent them from slipping outside.  Try blocking their access with a baby gate or keeping them in a back room until everyone has arrived.  This is also helpful for dogs that get very excited and jump up on people.
  • Take your dog outside to use the bathroom before guests come over.  Don’t forget to take them out again a couple hours later to avoid an accident.  Set a timer if you need to to remind yourself, or designate a family member to be responsible for it.
  • Make sure your cats have easy access to litter boxes when guests are around. If needed, keep them in a separate room with food, water and litter boxes to keep the visit as low-stress as possible.
  • If your dog or cat will be hanging around the guests, please make sure everyone knows what your good manners rules are for the pet, and whether and what it is  to feed them treats.
  • Remember that your pet may not enjoy being out with a lot of guests. Even if they do, put them in a separate room after an hour or so so that they can have “down time”.
  • If your pet might become nervous with visitors, keep them in a safe and quiet area in the house, or consider boarding them during the holidays.
  • Have your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as the nearest emergency hospital’s number within easy reach in case of emergencies.

Remember, a little preparation will make your holiday season  safer and fun for everyone!

Happy holidays!