Top Christmas Safety Tips for Your Pet

6 Christmas Pet Safety Tips, and One That Will Surprise You!

The halls are decked. The tree lights are twinkling. The stockings are hung by the fire with care. Christmas is almost here, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year. While there is a lot about this holiday season that’s harmless for our pets, there are some risks to keep in mind when decorating the house and planning the menu for Christmas day. Today, we’ll explore the top Christmas pet safety tips for pet owners, as well as one surprising dog toy that could be devastating for your pet.

How to Keep Your Cat From Messing With The Christmas Tree

If you own a cat and enjoy putting up a Christmas tree, chances are your feline friend views this annual tradition as a brand-new, shiny scratching post displayed specifically for them. From the jingle of ornaments, to the shiny twinkling Christmas lights, a decorated Christmas tree is a giant play thing to a cat. Follow the steps below to ensure that both your Christmas tree and your cat are safe from each other this holiday season:

Skip the Tinsel

It’s fun, shiny, and possibly a tradition your family has enjoyed for years. But adorning your tree’s branches with tinsel can lead to serious problems for your cat. It resembles a lot of your cat’s favorite toys they enjoy batting around, but if ingested could cause an obstruction and possibly lead to an emergency surgery. 

Instead, consider swapping the tinsel out for a fun garland that you can secure on the branches that don’t have pieces that hang down and tempt our kitty friends.

You should keep fragile or valuable ornaments on higher branches of your Christmas tree, and out of reach of your curious cat.
Keep fragile or valuable ornaments on higher Christmas tree branches, out of reach of your cat

Ornament Placement Matters

It may sound silly, but where you place your ornaments on the tree matters for more than just aesthetic. Make sure that you hang any valuable or breakable ornaments higher on your Christmas tree and out of reach of your cat. Hang ornaments that are less likely to break, shatter or be destroyed on the lower branches they could reach. 

It’s safe to say your cat will most likely bat at your ornaments at some point during the holiday season, so invest in some shatter-proof ornaments that match the rest of your ornaments that are cat (and kid) friendly.

Secure Your Christmas Tree

Whether you and your family bring home a live Christmas tree, or put up the same artificial tree every year, taking the time to make sure it’s secure can save a lot of heartache. Investing in a sturdy tree stand, and ensuring that the tree is tightly screwed into the stand can keep your tree from toppling over if a curious cat tries to climb the branches.

If you bring home a live tree, be sure to keep the water in the base clean. A thirsty cat could unknowingly ingest harmful bacteria if the water is left stagnant. 

The above tips aren’t just for cat owners. The same Christmas tree accidents caused by cats could also be caused by dogs, or even kids. Taking the time to make sure your Christmas tree is put up and decorated thoroughly, carefully, and safely can go a long way in making sure everyone in your family gets to enjoy the holidays (without any emergency trips to the vet).

Pet Friendly Holiday Treats

This year, keep the human holiday treats out of reach of your pets. What’s delicious for us, isn’t as fun for our furry friends.

Chocolate & Your Pets

You’ve most likely heard about the dangers of chocolate and pets, but it’s a good thing to be reminded of on a regular basis. Chocolate is extremely toxic to animals. If your pet ingests a little bit, they’ll most likely only experience diarrhea and vomiting. But if a pet ingests a large amount of chocolate, it can quickly become an emergency situation that can lead to seizures, internal bleeding, and even a heart attack. 

Keep anything containing chocolate far away from your pets this holiday season. And if one of your pets does ingest some, call your local emergency vet clinic right away.

Cocktails & Wagging Tails Don’t Mix

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, a lot of alcoholic beverages are consumed during the holiday season. While spiked eggnog and a champagne toast to ring in the New Year are fun ways to celebrate, it’s important to remember that alcohol should be kept away from your pets. The hustle and bustle of celebrating can lead to leaving around unattended drinks, but make sure that they’re left in places where Fido can’t reach them. 

Our pets’ digestive systems can’t handle alcohol like ours can. The normal buzz from your favorite holiday adult beverage could create lasting damage for your pet.

Keep your pets safe this holiday season with our top pet safety Christmas tips!
Keep your pets safe this holiday season with our top pet safety Christmas tips!

Christmas Dinner Doesn’t Go to The Dogs

We’ve already covered most of how to celebrate a pet-friendly holiday meal in some of our previous holiday posts, but the same still applies to Christmas dinner.

  • Keep scraps and bones away from your pet. Instead, substitute the ham bone with a dog-friendly treat.
  • Keep leftovers away from your pets. Fatty and heavily spiced foods and our pets’ digestive systems aren’t a good combination and could lead to some serious upset tummies.

You can still enjoy all of your favorite, rich, sweet foods, and beverages this holiday season. Just take some extra precaution if you know that your pet will be roaming freely through your house at the same time. Supervise any kids when they’re interacting with pets, making sure that they aren’t sharing food and treats with your dog or cat.

The Surprising Dog Treat That Could Lead to Emergency Surgery

For years dog owners have been giving rawhide bones to their pets at the holidays. These special treats can be found lining the aisles of any pet store, shaped like a Christmas wreath, or in the traditional shape of a bone. But no matter how festive it looks, this treat has proven to cause serious harm to dogs in the past.

The Dangers of Rawhide Bones

Rawhide treats have been known to be at risk for having traces of toxic chemicals, as well as being contaminated with Salmonella or E. Coli. If a rawhide treat is contaminated with any of these things, it could also prove to be a risk to any human who handles it. 

Some of the ingredients in a rawhide bone vary. Depending on what company made it, the ingredients and dyes used could cause some serious irritation to your dog’s stomach and intestines. But an even bigger risk to your dog’s health is the risk of a rawhide bone causing a blockage.

Yes, a rawhide bone can be chewed into smaller pieces and ingested with no problem. But unfortunately, we can’t communicate the need to do that directly to our dogs. Rawhide bones are usually made up of large, hard pieces, and if they aren’t chewed properly, could lead to pieces blocking your dog’s esophagus or parts of their digestive tract. This can lead to your pet choking and not being able to breathe, or even lead to the need for a serious emergency surgery if their intestines are blocked. 

Blockages caused by a rawhide bone could result in your pet’s death. The easiest way to avoid this is by substituting rawhide bones with different treats. 

  • Bully sticks are excellent alternatives to a rawhide bone that also provide nutrients for your pet.
  • Elk antlers can be a good alternative for your dog, but keep in mind that they should still be supervised when playing with one. 
  • Sturdy, fun chew toys may be one of the best alternatives to rawhide bones. Many pet stores sell toys that are hard for a dog to tear apart that will still provide hours of fun, while avoiding ingesting anything they shouldn’t.

It’s still possible to celebrate this holiday season with our loved ones (including our four-legged friends). Following these top Christmas safety tips for your pets, and keeping rawhide bones away from your dog, can result in an emergency-free Christmas that the whole family gets to enjoy.

Get your pet’s health started on the right foot in 2021 by pre-purchasing a package! This Christmas, think ahead for your pet’s health and safety. At PetWellClinic our goal is to make high-quality veterinary care easy and convenient for pet owners. With no appointment necessary, you can visit one of our locations at any time.

PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with your convenience in mind, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary. This holiday season we will close early at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and we will be closed Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.