You are safely through the Thanksgiving holiday with no food-related fiascos, and you breathe a sigh of relief before gearing up for the final holidays of the year. While fewer food hazards can tempt your pet during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, you must remain aware of and do your best to prevent myriad other dangers. 

Before you head into the end-of-year festivities, we offer more safety tips that will help ensure your pet’s health and happiness during the holiday season and beyond. 

DO decorate your tree with care

The star of the holiday show is also one of the most dangerous for your pet. Whether you choose a hassle-free artificial tree or a fir’s fresh scent, your Christmas tree is chock-full of hazards for cats and dogs. Keep these pet safety tips in mind when decorating your tree:

  • Handle with care — Glass and ceramic ornaments can prove too irresistible to your cat, who will love batting at the delicate items, but they can easily be wounded if the glass shatters on the floor. Keep your pet and your ornaments safe by hanging everything fragile out of paws’ reach.
  • Watch the wires — Electrical burns or shocks can result if your furry pal nibbles on the nest of electrical cords powering up your tree. Run strings of lights with care and ensure they are out of your pet’s reach.
  • Toss the tinsel — Tinsel, garland, and ribbons, which are especially enticing to cats, can cause a linear foreign body in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract if ingested.
  • Block off the base — At the base of your live tree is a bowl of dirty water, full of chemicals, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Although your real tree needs water to survive the holiday season, if the water becomes stagnant and your pet drinks some, they may become ill.

DON’T forget to update your pet’s identification

The holidays can be chaotic, and your four-legged friend can easily slip through an open door as you welcome your holiday guests. So, ensure your dashing dog carries proper identification that will help them find a way home. Multiple identification forms that provide the most comprehensive safety net can help guarantee a happy reunion. Ensure you keep all your pet’s identification, such as collar ID tags, an embroidered collar, and a microchip, updated with your current contact information.

DO instruct guests on proper pet etiquette

As a pet owner, you cannot imagine your life without your furry pal, but your pet’s constant presence can make you forget that not everyone is familiar with proper pet etiquette. Before your guests arrive, remind them that people and pets must be kept safe with these instructions:

  • Stash belongings out of reach — Your guests’ baggage can prove hazardous to your curious pet, if they sniff out gum, candy, chocolate, protein bars, medications, and toiletries. Ensure your guests have a safe place for their purses, jackets, and suitcases, and ask them to keep their doors closed to keep your pet out.
  • Don’t share food — People are always tempted to share food with pets to try and make friends, yet many party foods are dangerous for cats and dogs. Instruct your guests to avoid sharing scraps from their plate and to instead offer your furry pal approved pet-friendly treats.
  • Let your pet initiate interactions — Boisterous children and overbearing adults can make your pet uncomfortable, especially when cornered, held, or forced to tolerate unwanted attention. Your pet may lash out to gain some space, so ensure guests know they must leave your furry pal alone unless they approach someone for attention.

DON’T wait until the last minute to request veterinary care for your pet

Whether your pet needs updated vaccinations prior to traveling or boarding, or their heart medications refilled, don’t wait until the last minute. Our hospital’s staffing and business hours change around the holidays, and squeezing in last-minute vaccination, health certificate, or prescription refill requests may not be possible. 

Ensure your pet receives the care they need by:

  • Verifying the vaccinations your pet needs for boarding or traveling
  • Determining if a health certificate is necessary for traveling
  • Requesting anti-anxiety medications for traveling, boarding, or parties
  • Checking your pet’s prescriptions and requesting refills, if needed
  • Checking your stock of parasite preventives and refilling, if necessary
  • Portioning your pet’s prescription food to ensure they have enough to last through the holidays

Add your pet’s health care needs to your holiday to-do list and ensure you check off each item well in advance. If your furry pal is lacking any essential vaccinations, medical paperwork, or prescriptions, contact our Palm City Animal Medical Center team as soon as possible.