Guide: Tips to safely celebrate the winter holidays with your ‘fur-ever’ friend

Here are some tips to safely celebrate the winter holidays with your "fur-ever" friend.

Sandrina Rodrigues

Dec 21, 2023, 9:46 AM

Updated 206 days ago


Ready to celebrate the winter holidays with your "fur-ever" friends?
Don’t let this cheerful time be spoiled by a trip to the veterinarian!
Here are some safety tips to consider from the American Veterinary Medical Association and ASPCA:


Make sure you know how to get to your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before there's an emergency. 
Keep these numbers posted in an easy-to-find location in case of emergencies:
Your veterinarian's clinic phone number
24/7 emergency veterinary clinic (if different)
ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435


Keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. 
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it's safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. The artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
Turkey and turkey skin can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
Table scraps, including gravy, meat fat, onions, raisins and grapes, can be fattening and hard for animals to digest. Onions, raisins and grapes are poisonous to pets.
Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
Keep alcoholic drinks away from pets! If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
Clear the food from your table, counters and serving areas when you are done using them – and make sure the trash gets put where your pet can't reach it.


Greenery, lights and Christmas trees pose a risk for our pets!
Flowers and festive plants can be dangerous and even poisonous. The ASPCA has lists of plants that are toxic to dogs and cats.
Liquid potpourris pose risks because they contain essential oils and detergents that can severely damage your pet's mouth, eyes and skin. Solid potpourris could cause problems if eaten.
Christmas trees can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with the lights and ornaments.
Water additives for Christmas trees can be hazardous to your pets. Do not add aspirin, sugar, or anything to the water for your tree if you have pets in the house.
Ornaments, tinsel and other holiday decorations can cause injuries, and ingesting them can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Broken ornaments can cause injuries.
Electric lights can cause burns when a pet chews the cords.
Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire.


Visitors can upset pets, as can the noise and excitement of holiday parties. 
Make sure your pets have access to a comfortable, quiet place inside if they want to retreat. 
Inform your guests ahead of time that you have pets or if other guests may be bringing pets to your house. 
If guests ask to bring their own pets and you don't know how the pets will get along, you should either politely decline their request or plan to spend some time acclimating the pets to each other. 
Pets that are nervous around visitors should be put it in another room or a crate with a favorite toy.
Watch for escaping pets. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. 
Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information.


Unplug decorations while you're not around. Cats, dogs and other pets are often tempted to chew electrical cords.
Take out the trash to make sure your pets can't get to it, especially if it contains any food or food scraps.
Are you planning on traveling with a pet? Check out these tips to help you have a great trip!

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