Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

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Parents, there are lots of fun things going on with the holidays. The house has decorations, plants, and foods that may not normally be around the rest of the year. Some of these holiday items can be dangerous for pets. Teach these tips to your kids to help protect their pets.

Christmas Trees

Everyone likes to see lights twinkling on a Christmas tree, but light cords and extension cords can become strangling hazards, or they could get chewed on by a cat or dog causing an electrical shock. Remind your kids to keep cords tucked away, so pets will leave them alone. 

Animals may be drawn to edible ornaments like a homemade gingerbread man, popcorn garland, or candy canes. If your kids want to decorate with these items, have them place these items up high on the tree where their pets can’t get at them.

Tinsel and Ribbons

Cats love to play with shiny tinsel and ribbon, but if swallowed, they can get tangled in their stomachs and make them very sick. If you have a cat, don’t decorate with tinsel. Teach the kids to pick up the ribbons after gifts are unwrapped.


Lots of families have poinsettias, holly, or mistletoe around the house for the holidays. Most pets won’t bother with them, but these plants can make animals sick. If your kids see their pets eat any of these plants, tell them to let you know, so you can call a veterinarian.

Table Scraps

It is very tempting to sneak some table scraps to pets during the holiday meal. Kids will follow your lead, so it is important to model good behavior by resisting this temptation. When animals eat fatty foods, it can make their stomachs upset. Teach your kids that it is best to only feed pets the proper pet food.

Dogs love turkey, chicken, and steak bones, but bones can splinter and puncture the digestive tract. Teach your kids that it is important to make sure bones go in the garbage and not in the dog.

Human Treats

Chocolate and some sugar-free mints and gum can make dogs very sick. Teach your kids to not leave candy where dogs can get at it. Tell your kids that if they see their pet eating chocolate, sugar-free mints, or gum, to let you know, so that you can call a veterinarian.

Pet Treats

It is fun for kids to give pet treats for a stocking stuffer, but even pet treats can cause problems for animals. Some treats can get stuck in a dog or cat’s throat. Too many treats may make pets sick. Buy appropriate sized treats for your pets. Teach your kids to not give pets too many treats at once.

Cold Weather

With the holidays, there may be a lot of activity and distractions going on in your house. Teach your kids to pay attention when they open doors to go outside, so their pet doesn’t get outside. A pet left outside for too long in the cold, without shelter, could be in danger. Remind your children on days when it is bitter cold, to make sure their pet is somewhere safe and warm.

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Page last updated: Mar 8th, 2017