How to Keep Your Pets Safe and Happy This Holiday Season

Dec 01, 2022

The holidays can be a very stressful time for people. We have a lot of shopping to do and dinners to plan with lots of fixings. But before we pull up our chairs to stuff ourselves, we must think about our furry family members! It is important to ensure that we are preplanning for the festivities in order to keep them safe.

Our pets don’t need to be stuffed, too, for the holiday to be complete. Many people think that because they are having a special meal that their pups need to join in on the feast. Frankly, our pets just want to eat and that doesn’t mean that it needs to be as special as a holiday dinner. To them, food is simply just that—food!

TIP: Our pets eating their regular food on their regular schedule is best.


Most pets are treated like family because they are family. They will be donned in holiday sweaters and holiday pajamas just like the kids. That’s when families begin to include them by giving them scraps while they cook. Their sad puppy eyes play on our weaknesses to give our pets what we are having to eat. The sadness and guilt results in them getting some scraps before the meal has even started or the dish is even created. If your dog’s crate trained it may be beneficial to keep them busy in their crate with a toy or long-lasting treat. That way they can enjoy their space while the family enjoys theirs.

TIP: Using a crate or a small secure place in your home is a great way to keep your dog reach.


If you must give in, turkey can be harmless to pets depending on spices and sauces used, as are so many other foods we eat for holiday meals. The problems arise when we give pets foods that are toxic to them, including sauces, seasonings and spices. If you fix them a plate, aka a delicious bowl of holiday foods, then make sure to feed them a piece of turkey minus the seasoned covered skin and sharp bones. Also, refrain from giving them pies and cakes—no need for sugar overload. Think bland.

TIP: Onion, chocolate, fatty food, and some vegetables are toxic.


Don’t let a twenty-dollar turkey turn into an unnecessary two-thousand-dollar visit to the vet for stomach upset or pancreatitis.  According to some veterinarians, bones and other bits of turkey can cause painful and fatal obstructions in pets. Before you reach down to fill their dog bowl with human food or sneak them a small piece of food, ask yourself, is it worth it?

TIP: Some signs and symptoms to be aware of are lethargy, vomiting, and nausea.


Watch for the counter surfers. We would hate for your pup to get ahold of raw dough from uncooked biscuits. Dough expands and will create serious and sometimes fatal intestinal problems! Some people regularly feed their dog’s raw meat, but it could cause digestive issues if it’s not part of their regular diet.  The holidays are all about family and friends enjoying time together. That includes staying focused on the safety of your pups!

TIP: Put plates of unfinished food and containers in the refrigerator or out of your pup’s reach. This will keep the talented counter surfers safe!


At the holidays, our houses have many decorations, toys, and floors covered in wrapping paper. Cats are enamored by the shiny tinsel on trees. To them, tinsel is a toy, but the reality is, if ingested, the tinsel could get wrapped in your feline’s intestines or stomach, causing serious health concerns. It’s cute seeing them play with it, but it can turn scary within minutes. The common theme for pets during the holiday festivities seem to be nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. We should try and prevent that at all costs.

TIP: Try to keep as many decorations as possible out of reach of your pets.


Make sure that your holiday tree is stable. Some dogs are strong enough to pull holiday trees down or a swinging tail could get caught in the strands of lights bringing the decorated tree to the floor. Your cat may climb it or try and replace your angel. The water in the base of the tree could be mistaken for a new water bowl. Often, fertilizer is in the water, and that could upset the pup’s belly. Poinsettias are extremely toxic to pets. Artificial trees and plants may be the best option to keep curious pets.

TIP: Keep cats and dogs away from the holiday plants.


Be careful to keep the strings of confetti that’s tossed around during your New Year’s Day celebration in human hands and away from cats. The confetti could get locked in their intestines. It’s like your parent’s old saying, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt!” Don’t let your cat or pup be that someone!

TIP: Pick up the confetti and other trash.


You can distract your pets with their favorite toys, give them interactive games that keep them focused, and consider putting them in a separate room. You could take them for extra or longer walks and tire them out. Keep the dogs on their routine as much as possible. Our pets don’t even know what the holidays are. To them, each day is just another day to love, play, eat, and sleep.

TIP: Online and local pet stores offer great gifts and pet friendly treats for our pets. You can also make pet friendly treats or desserts.


Preplanning and a few accommodations can give our pets the best holiday season. Pay attention to their needs and keep them out of harm’s way.

May you have a paws-itively merry, holiday season and enjoy your time with your family, friends and pets!