Decking the Halls With Holiday Pet Safety in Mind

Two cats look at some Christmas ornaments they took off the tree.

Are you the kind of holiday enthusiast who busts out the Christmas tree before the Thanksgiving turkey has cooled? Do you dream of a winter wonderland in the middle of June? With all the sparkles, knickknacks, and magic, the holiday season is definitely a special time that many of us adore!

At Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital, we believe it’s never too early to begin planning for holiday pet safety. For the love of our furry friends, our team has compiled some great tips on how to keep your pet safe this season, making the holidays as merry and pet-friendly as possible.

Dangerous Decorations and Party Precautions

Before you add some holly to your jolly, hold up! Some of our beloved traditions and decorations are also rife with risks for your pet. From toxic foods and plants to accidents and injuries, the last thing anyone wants is an urgent trip to the veterinary clinic.

To help you keep the “tra-la-la-la-la” in holiday decorating, here are some items to cross off your to-do list:

  • Breakable bulbs – Yes, you may cherish that vintage collection from your grandmother, but there’s a likely chance your pet will have an eye on it, too. Breakable bulbs and other fragile decorations should be placed high on the tree or avoided altogether. Unless your tree is in an off-limits-to-pets area of the home, it’s best to stick with plastic or wood ornaments.
  • Edible ornaments – This should be obvious. Ornaments that are made of food – even if they’re a decade-old shellacked cookie – should not be within your pet’s reach. Items like edible Advent calendars and other favors can also be risks.
  • Seasonal plants – Puckering up for a kiss beneath the mistletoe? It pays to know that popular plants like mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, lilies, and poinsettias are pet-toxic plants. Opt for silk or plastic arrangements for aesthetically pleasing, festive decor.
  • Tinsel – This string-like decoration is especially problematic. Of course, it ends up all over the house weeks after the holidays, but it’s also one of the most common decorations that cause pet emergencies. Pets love to eat string, and tinsel can cause stomach upset or a dangerous gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Party foods – If you’re hosting a big gathering this year, think about your pet’s well-being and have a plan for them. Most parties involve lots of food and a bit of imbibing. Foods like chocolate, Xylitol (sugar substitute in sweets/desserts), grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and garlic, and alcohol can all cause toxicity in pets. Find a quiet spot for your pet away from the noise and party foods, and treat them to a few special toys and safe snacks of their own.
  • Gifts – Curling ribbon is a definite safety hazard, much like tinsel. Remove curling ribbon from any gifts that come into the home. If you’re unsure of the contents of a gift, put it away until you open it, as the gift might contain edible items like chocolate or other sweets.

Holiday Pet Safety

While being reminded about pet toxins and other holiday pet safety may seem a little on the bah humbug side of things, we know that you want the best for your best friend. With these tips, we hope to make this season as wonderful and pet-safe as possible.

If you need additional help creating a fun, safe holiday for your fur pal, our team is always here for you! Please give us a call with your questions.