8 Simple Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During the Holidays
The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but they can also be stressful for your pet. The gatherings and New Year’s celebrations mean lots of loud noises, unfamiliar people coming in and out of your house, and tempting foods that could make your pet unwell. Whether traveling with your pets or having guests in your home, your furry family members are impacted by changes to their schedule and environment.
Steps to Take as a Pet Parent
As their pet parent, it’s important to be mindful of how their surroundings can affect them and take steps to ensure they stay safe and happy.
1. Update Pet Tags and Microchips
Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with their name and your contact information. If your pet has been microchipped, don’t forget to keep the details up to date – it’s an important step that’s often overlooked when moving or changing phone numbers.
2. Secure Your Home
If you’re hosting a party, make sure your guests know not to leave the door open when they enter or leave. Ensure all windows and doors are closed tightly to prevent accidental escapes.
3. Try to Keep Routines as Normal as Possible
Animals are creatures of habit, so try to maintain the usual routines to help keep them calm and content. Keep their meal times the same, and don’t neglect their potty breaks while you have a houseful of guests.
4. Be Mindful of Holiday Decorations
Holiday decor may look festive, but it can also be tempting to your pets. Twinkling lights and dangling items can catch their attention. Tinsel, ribbon, lit candles, lights, and wires can be harmful if knocked over or chewed on by curious paws and mouths. For their safety, it’s best to keep these items out of their reach and consider flameless candles as an alternative.
5. Don’t Give Human Food to Your Pet
Many people don’t realize that some foods that are safe for us can be toxic when ingested by your pets:
- Xylitol. A sweetener used in many baked goods, candies, and peanut butter.
- Macadamia nuts
6. Consider Their Behavior
Your pet can’t adjust its normal behavior when guests are around. As their owner, you know them best:
- Loud noises. Some animals are extremely skittish around loud noises or lots of people, and without you there to provide comfort, they can feel even more nervous.
- Barking. If your dog barks at strangers and loud noises, it could scare your guests or make them uncomfortable.
- Jumpers. Not all guests like to have dogs jump on them to greet them, and you want everyone to have a good time.
- Petting. Not all pets like to be handled by strangers. Let your guests know whether your pet likes to be picked up or handled to prevent scratching or biting.
- Begging for food. If your dog likes to sit by the table and beg for food, you may want to keep them away while your guests eat. Not everyone’s a fan of warm dog breath or drool on their leg while trying to enjoy their meal. It also reduces the risk of someone giving in to their stare and sharing table scraps.
If you’re having a large group of guests over, consider keeping your pet in a separate area to avoid risky situations. If you have a cat, remember to bring their litter box with them.
7. Prep Your Guests
Let your guests know that you have pets. Share any rules you want them to follow, like:
- Don’t share people food with your pet. Have animal-friendly treats out so they can share with them instead.
- Don’t leave doors open or linger in open doorways.
- Let them know if your pet doesn’t like to be picked up or handled.
8. Hire a Pet Sitter
If you’re traveling and choose to leave your pets at home, hiring a pet sitter can give you peace of mind knowing your pet is being taken care of while you’re away. Make sure you provide clear instructions for any pet medications. Always leave your contact information for any questions and your vet’s number in case of an emergency.
Plan Ahead for Your Pet’s Wellbeing
The holidays can be an exciting but potentially stressful time for your pet. From decorations to loud noises to changes in routine, your pet can be overwhelmed by the holiday festivities. By taking precautions, you can rest assured that your furbaby will stay safe and happy throughout the holidays.