The holiday season brings new and exciting sights, sounds, and smells into your home and your pet’s environment. During this festive time, it’s important to consider your pet’s perspective. It’s an exciting time — lights are glittering, shiny objects are dangling, sweet smells are in the air, and people are joyously celebrating. While these holiday sights, sounds, and smells might be exciting for our pets, their ability to cope with it might be a little bit difficult. Here are 12 days of pet safety tips to help keep your pet safe during the holiday season!

Day One: Christmas Tree Location

Choose the right location for your tree — not Fido’s lookout window or Fluffy’s favorite windowsill for taking a nap. Then, securely anchor your Christmas tree by attaching the top or sides of the tree to a hook in the ceiling or an adjacent wall.  

Day Two: Christmas Tree Water

If you have a real tree, cover the water basin with foil to prevent your pet from taking a drink. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with a bad tummy ache.

Day Three: Cold Weather

Never leave your pet outside for too long when the temperature drops. If it’s too cold for you, it may be too cold for your pet, too. They should only go outside for exercise and potty breaks when it’s extremely cold.

Day Four: Festivities 

Make time for a little play before your company arrives, then put your furry friend in a quiet back bedroom with their favorite toy. If you feel your pet can join in on the festivities, remind kids never to bother a dog or cat when eating or sleeping. 

Day Five: Guest Rooms

Remember to tell your guests to keep their guest room doors closed, and suitcases zipped to avoid pets sniffing out something they should not eat — like medications, candy, or gum.

Day Six: Holiday Food

Keep your pets on their regular feeding schedule. Be sure to keep your pets away from the dinner table and unattended plates of food and remember to keep garbage can lids secured.

No leftovers for Fido or Fluffy — fatty, spicy human foods should not be fed to your furry friends.

Day Seven: Sweets and Alcohol

Skip the sweets; pets should not eat chocolate, or anything sweetened with xylitol. Also, be careful with holiday cocktails; place unattended alcoholic beverages where pets cannot reach them. If pets consume alcohol, they could go into a coma which could result in death from respiratory failure.

Day Eight: Plants

Holly and mistletoe plants are poisonous to pets. Swallowing the holly berries or leaves can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and decreased activity, while mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. 

Day Nine: Pets as Gifts

Giving a pet as a gift can be tricky! Pet owners need the pet that is right for them – one that fits their lifestyle. Instead of giving a friend or relative a pet, buy a gift certificate from your local shelter so that they can select the right pet at the right time. 

Day Ten: Wrapped Gifts

Anything that has a scent, edible or non-edible, can tempt your dog or cat to a pre-Christmas unwrapping. Items such as scented soaps, perfumes, candles, and even tobacco products may not sound tasty to you but can be irresistible to some pets.

Day Eleven: Gifts for Pets

If you have wrapped up a rawhide bone or a box of treats for your furry friend, don’t expect them to have the patience to wait until Christmas. Be careful that your dog or cat doesn’t help themselves to their gift and overindulge.

Day Twelve: Pet Outfits

It can be hard to resist cute pet outfits during the holiday season. A pet costume should allow your pet to move around freely and breathe easily. Make sure there are not any dangling pieces for a pet to chew off and swallow. 

The holidays can be a joyous time for all of us but a potentially dangerous time for our four-legged friends. If you have a pet in the home this holiday season, taking a few extra precautions could mean the difference between a picture-perfect Christmas and a not-so-merry one at the emergency animal clinic.