Helpful Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Helpful Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

As we gather with loved ones this holiday season, it’s only natural that we include our furry family members in the merriment. To ensure all the festivities are fun and safe for your pets, be mindful of these tips as you celebrate.


Common holiday decorations can be enticing to pets, especially if your pets haven’t seen them before.

Watch the Wires 

When you leave your home, turn off all interior decorative lighting. Wires can be tempting for pets to chew on. Try to keep all wires out of reach of your pet if possible.

Use Caution with Candles

Do not leave any lit candles unattended around your pets. If you must leave the room, blow out the candles first. Cats can be especially tempted to swat at candle flames, and dogs may bump into furniture and knock over candles.

Rockin’ Around Christmas Tree

Make sure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored to a wall so it does not fall over and cause potential injury or distress. If you have a real tree, monitor your pet and make sure he does not drink any of the water out of the tree stand. Stagnant tree water can carry harmful bacteria.


Make sure that your pets do not have access to “people food” during the holidays, as many foods that are fine for humans are toxic for pets, including grapes, raisins, onions, and chocolate.


While many of us like to indulge in sweets during the holidays, these tasty treats can be particularly harmful to our furry friends. Keep all chocolate well out of reach.


Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener found in many products, including gum, candy, and pre-made baked goods. It can sometimes be found in peanut butter, ketchup, and other condiments too. If a product is branded as “sugar-free,” check the ingredients on the label to see if it contains Xylitol. It may also be listed as “sugar alcohol.” Xylitol can also be found in mouthwash, toothpaste, and deodorant, although it’s less likely that your pet will ingest large quantities of these items. (Let’s hope not!)

Table Scraps

When you leave the house, or even when you leave the kitchen for an extended period of time, be sure to take out the trash. Many dogs enjoy rummaging through the trash every now and then, and the aroma of rich holiday food can be difficult for them to resist. Save yourself a trip to the vet by throwing away all table scraps outside.


If your celebrations include cocktails, make sure that they are kept well out of paw’s reach. Alcohol is toxic for pets even in small doses. Don’t leave glasses unattended, and maybe rethink the punch bowl.   


Being surrounded by unfamiliar people can be stressful for your pet. With a little preparation, you can avoid unnecessary anxiety. 

Give Your Pets Space

If you will be entertaining guests in your home, make sure they are aware of your pets. If your pet becomes anxious, give him a private, quiet space with a favorite toy. Ask your guests ahead of time if they intend to bring their pets, and plan accordingly.

Give Your Guests Instructions

If your pet has any quirks that your guests need to know about, make sure to bring them to their attention. You may need to remind guests not to feed your pets any “people food. 

Watch the Doors

From greeting guests to checking on the oven, it’s easy to get distracted while entertaining during the holidays. Keep an eye on the exits to make sure that your pets do not get outside unsupervised. You may need to ask a friend to help you with this task! 


If you are visiting friends and family during the holidays, make a plan for your pets well in advance.


If you are traveling during the holidays and cannot take your pet with you, board him at a familiar facility and make sure he is up to date on all of his vaccinations. If you can take your pet along, review our checklist of travel safety tips.

Pet Sitting

If you will be out of town for an extended time, consider asking a friend or family member to watch your pet at home while you traveling. Make sure your pet sitter has a list of any current medications your pet is taking, specific instructions about your pet’s daily routine, and the contact information for your veterinarian. 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure safe and happy holiday celebrations with your pet. We wish you and your pets all the best this holiday season!

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