This month, the weather is colder, the days are shorter, and your social calendar is packed with holiday parties and Christmas dinners. The hustle, bustle, and stress that sometimes accompanies the festivities can affect your pet. If your pet encounters unfamiliar guests, dangerous decorations, or unhealthy food, it can put him or her in an unpleasant situation. Whether you’re spending the holiday season with Santa Paws or Santa Claws, take extra safety precautions to make sure that Christmas is as enjoyable for your furry friend as it is for you.

Keep pets calm

When your dog hears a knock on the door or the doorbell ring, it can create an exciting or stressful situation for him. If your pet is shy, anxious, or aggressive towards visitors, designate a quiet room, crate, or backyard that makes your pet feel safe when guests arrive. With people coming in and out of your home, it can be easy for your pet to slip out an open door without anyone realizing. Make sure to keep a collar with an identifying tag on your pet at all times in case he or she were to go missing. Tell guests whether or not your pet is allowed outside to avoid confusion.

Decorate wisely

Low-hanging or glass ornaments can present a serious hazard to cats or dogs if they are knocked off the tree and break. If your pet is prone to climbing on or pulling on the tree, never leave them alone unsupervised and keep fragile ornaments or decorations out of reach. Candles with open flames are dangerous if your pet knocks them over. Even if the candles aren’t lit, the wax can be harmful for dogs if they lick or chew on them. Electrical cords should always be covered to prevent your pet from suffering a nasty shock.

Limit treats

While we often consider the holidays as the season for indulging, your pet’s health should always be a priority. A few festive treats that are made specifically for dogs or cats won’t hurt, but foods high in sugar or calories are not appropriate for your pet. Politely ask guests to refrain from feeding your furbaby table scraps unless you have given explicit permission. Alcohol is potentially poisonous to dogs and cats, so make sure that pets are not included in a holiday toast. Keep trash from holiday parties in secure bags that your pet cannot access.  

Cook with care

When planning Christmas dinner, pay special attention to food that could be poisonous to your pet. A rich chocolate cake may be the perfect dessert for your human guests, but always keep the cake covered away from your pets. If you’ve brought home meat from the butcher’s, carefully dispose of all string, paper, and plastic that dogs may be attracted to. Teaching your dog the “leave it” command before the holidays can help protect your pet if you catch him with an off-limits piece of food.

We wish you and your family a safe and fun holiday season from our team at Oceanside Vet!

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