Guide To Holiday Safety for Pets: From Hanukkah to Christmas and Beyond

Cat wrapped up with Christmas lights and playing

The holidays are here, a fact that has most Americans racing the aisles, planning delicious feasts, and getting ready for visitors and family gatherings. Some of us celebrate with the golden light of Hanukkah, some take pride in a perfect Christmas tree. And almost all of us celebrate New Year’s Eve with parties, fireworks, and lots of friends.

Unfortunately, the holidays pose some unique hazards for pets and are associated with some very common pet emergencies. We’ve gathered our time-tested holiday safety for pets tips to keep your furry friends safe and healthy all season long!

Oh, Christmas Tree

If your family celebrates Christmas, you may have already found the perfect tree. Gather around for our Christmas pet safety tips:

  • Anchor the tree to the wall if you have curious pets or climbers
  • Don’t allow pets to drink the tree water which may contain harmful chemicals
  • Fatty foods such as turkey skin and gravy can all cause GI upset and pancreatitis. Keep all foods out of pets’ reach.
  • Holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe are all toxic to pets. Keep all plants and holiday decor away from pets
  • Gifts with ribbon, bows, and wrapping may pose a choking or foreign body hazard. Edible gifts may be tempting under the tree, so keep them stored safely away until gifted
  • Keep wires and string lights on high, so that pets can’t chew on them or get entangled

Pets who are used to social gatherings may wag their tails with joy at a houseful of people. But shy or anxious pets can be stressed by the hustle and bustle of the season. Keep your pet’s daily feeding, walking, and playtime routine as close to normal as possible. Make sure she gets regular exercise, which will help keep her relaxed. And don’t forget to spend some quality time together!

Light The Menorah

Keep pets safe during the celebration of Hanukkah:

Candlelight is one of the most beautiful parts of this holiday, but can be hazardous to curious pets. Keep the Menorah well out of reach to avoid singed whiskers and tails. Consider LED lights instead of flame, or crate your pet while the festivities are in full swing.

Dreidel games are fun, but the spinning top can be a big attraction for pets. Small pieces can be a choking hazard, so put everything safely away when you’re finished playing.

Hanukkah foods have us jumping for joy, but rich brisket, sugary sufganiyot, and chocolate coins can all wreak havoc on your pet’s GI system. Even a few bites can cause a painful and potentially deadly condition called pancreatitis. Keep all people foods and leftovers out of pet’s reach, and cover trash bins securely.

Gifts play an important role in the Hanukkah tradition. Cats are especially attracted to ribbon, raffia, and string, so ensure that these items are safely out of reach to prevent a foreign body obstruction.

New Year’s Eve and Beyond 

Happy 2020! As the new year approaches, we are all considering which party or celebration to attend. Here’s how to keep your pet safe. 

If you’ll be hosting, give your pet a quiet room away that she can retreat to. Include her beddings, toys, food and water, and a white noise machine or soft music. Check on her often and praise her for her good behavior. 

Fireworks often herald the coming of a new year, and can cause even the most relaxed pet to feel fearful. Bring pets inside before dark, keep them secure, and make sure they are wearing a collar and ID tags and that their microchip is updated with current contact information, just in case. Stay close if you can during fireworks shows to reassure your pet with your calm presence. And talk to us about medication if your pet needs a helping hand. 

Balloons and noise makers can be scary for pets, and popped balloon pieces and ribbon can be accidentally ingested. Consider letting your pet relax in her quiet space, especially as the countdown nears.

No one wants to spend a holiday in the animal emergency room, so vigilance and preparation is needed for holiday safety for pets. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your friends at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital of Brooklyn