Dog with reindeer ears; read tips for holiday pet safety.

The DO’s and DON’Ts of holiday pet safety

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Give your furry friends the gift of happy, healthy holidays with these holiday pet safety tips

Your pets can be a fun and welcome addition to the holidays, but a trip to the vet? Not so much. Here is a list of the do’s and don’ts for pet holiday safety to keep everyone feeling merry and bright.

DO pet-proof your Christmas trees

Secure your tree to keep it from falling if cats or dogs bump it. You can also hang lemon-scented air fresheners on the tree to deter cats from climbing.

DON’T forget the decorations

If you have cats, consider keeping tinsel off the tree, as it can be a choking hazard. Clean up broken ornaments quickly, to avoid any injuries, and keep wires for string lights or other decorations out of reach of curious chompers. Additionally, many holiday plants, such as mistletoe, poinsettias, lilies, and holly, can cause health problems if they are ingested. For pet safety without sacrificing decor, opt for pet-friendly plants or faux bouquets, wreaths, and garlands.

Cat wearing a holiday sweater; learn about holiday pet safety.

DO let guests know you have a pet

If you’re having friends and family over for the holidays, give them a heads up as a courtesy. If your pet is nervous around new people, give the pet a comfortable space to retreat, fresh water, and a toy to keep them company. If your pet is more social, keep an eye on your home’s exits to ensure your pet does not get out.

DON’T feed your pet people food

Holiday foods are great for people, but some of them are bad news for your furry friend. Keep these foods away from cats and dogs, and ask your guests to do the same.

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Turkey and turkey skin
  • Table scraps (including gravy, fat, and animal bones)
  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener
  • Yeast dough (such as dinner rolls)

Pug wearing a Santa hat; learn about holiday pet safety.

DO act fast if you think something is wrong

Even while preparing for a safe and happy holiday for your pets, accidents can still happen. If your pet shows signs of sickness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or mood changes, call your local vet immediately. You can also contact the ASPCA poison control hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

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