There’s no place like home for the holidays, but when it comes to your pet’s safety, things aren’t always merry and bright. The festive season is filled with dangers around every corner and hidden in seemingly harmless traditions. Do you know how to identify the holiday hazards in your home?

Take a virtual home tour with Westerville Veterinary Clinic to find out what might be threatening your pet’s peace this holiday season.

The front door—potential pet escape route

Your front door is wreathed in welcoming comfort and cheer, but the frequent arrivals and departures of delivery people, friends, and family allow your dog or cat the opportunity to make a fast getaway. Confident pets may see the open door as a chance to explore the neighborhood, while fearful pets may try to escape from the stress and anxiety caused by unfamiliar houseguests. Your pet’s absence may go unnoticed amid the hustle and bustle. 

Keep your pet home for the holidays by restricting their access to the front door and ensuring they wear a collar and updated identification at all times. For the greatest peace of mind, have your pet microchipped at Westerville Veterinary Clinic and register the chip with your name and contact information. 

The living room—decor disasters for pets

No one will appreciate your holiday decorations more than your pets, but this isn’t a good thing. The sparkling, glittering, and blinking attractions lure cats and dogs to investigate by swatting and sampling, which can lead to dangerous intestinal blockages, choking, and electrical shock. If your pet is the curious type, keep tinsel, garland, lights, and breakable ornaments on higher branches or use pet-safe alternatives, and always supervise their activities. 

Avoid using candles near pets, as wagging tails and playful paws can be burned or start a fire. Replace toxic plants and flowers (e.g., mistletoe, holly, lilies, and amaryllis) with artificial foliage and refrain from using liquid potpourri or essential oils near pets. 

The treenot a “fir” fight with pets

Pets don’t care if your Christmas tree is real or artificial—they’ll gladly make mischief with both varieties. No matter what style you choose, ensure your tree is secure to prevent pushy paws and climbing kitties from tipping your Tannenbaum. Use a stable tree base and anchor the top to your ceiling using an eye hook and cable or fishing twine, if necessary. 

If you have a live tree, cover the base to prevent your pet from lapping the water, which often contains harmful bacteria and fertilizer. Water your tree daily to prevent stagnation and mold. If your pet can’t be trusted with your towering timber, wrap the tree with an exercise pen when you are unable to supervise.

The table—troublesome tastes for pets

The table is the heart of the holidays as family and friends gather over shared conversation and delicious food. Under the table, however, many toxic transgressions take place as pets happily accept tasty treats from sneaky hands. 

Traditional holiday foods are filled with dangerous ingredients for pets. Dogs can suffer from potentially deadly pancreatitis by consuming fatty or rich foods (e.g., turkey skin and trimmings). Never allow your pet to chew on turkey bones, which can splinter and cause internal cuts, punctures, and intestinal blockages that require surgical removal. Other common holiday ingredients are downright toxic to pets, including:

  • Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks
  • Unrisen yeast dough
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins and currants
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol — an artificial sweetener

Keep trash cans out of your pet’s reach as well to prevent them from helping themselves while you’re at the table. If you know or suspect your pet has eaten something dangerous, immediately contact Westerville Veterinary Clinic.

The guest room—packed with pet peril

Encourage visitors to close guest room doors and keep luggage and bags off the floor and bed where curious pets may peruse what they’ve packed. Purses and toiletry bags may contain human medications, supplements, cigarettes, vaping supplies, and xylitol-containing mints, gum, and beauty products. 

The spare room—a pet-safe oasis

Finally, a protected space for your pet. If your dog or cat experiences stress and anxiety during times of high activity or is nervous around strangers, consider creating a safe space for them in a quiet area of your home. Include essentials such as a cozy bed, water, toys, and a litter box. Encourage your pet to hang out here in the weeks before the holidays by providing new toys or treats in the space. For additional calm and comforting vibes, add a Feliway or Adaptil pheromone diffuser.

Trusted help for your pet’s holiday emergencies

Accidents happen, and not always during regular business hours. That’s why Westerville Veterinary Clinic is fully equipped and ready to help 24/7/365. Our team can efficiently triage your pet’s condition over the phone and—if necessary—meet you at the clinic to provide exceptional, compassionate emergency care. 

Are you concerned about unexpected emergency expenses? Protect your pet and your pocketbook by joining Westerville Veterinary Clinic’s membership program. For a low monthly rate, we cover 100 percent of your pet’s routine care and emergency costs—giving you invaluable peace of mind when you find yourself in a nightmare before, during, or after Christmas. 

Give your pet the gift of health this holiday season by protecting them from household hazards and signing up for our membership program. For more about what’s included or to schedule a consultation and receive a quote, visit our membership page