The holiday season’s hustle and bustle can become chaotic, and with so much to do—gifts to buy, boxes to wrap, halls to deck, stockings to stuff, meals to plan, houses to clean—forgetting about the potential hazards that can harm your pet is easy. Our Driftwood Animal Hospital team shares three tips to help ensure your holiday season is merry and bright and safe for your pet. 

#1: Avoid sharing table scraps with pets

Your pet may look adorable when they beg for bites of your food, and those sad eyes make denying them extremely difficult. However, many common holiday dishes are dangerous for pets, including:

  • Fatty foods — Foods that contain fatty ingredients, such as butter and cream, can trigger pancreatitis, a dangerous condition that is potentially life-threatening to your pet.
  • Turkey bones — Cooked bones are extremely brittle, and a bone shard can severely damage your pet’s mouth or gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • Garlic, onions, and leeks — Vegetables in the Allium family, including onions, leeks, shallots, chives, and garlic, contain N-propyl disulfide, which causes oxidative damage to a pet’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Raisins and grapes — Raisins and grapes can cause some pets to experience kidney failure. So, holiday treats that include raisins or grapes, such as fruitcakes and fruit salads, are off-limits to your furry pal.
  • Alcohol — Indulging in beer, cocktails, or wine in moderation is fine for people, but alcohol is toxic to pets. Alcohol’s sweet aroma often tempts pets, but do not let your pet lap from an unattended drink, because they can suffer alcohol poisoning.
  • Sugar-free treats — Many sugar-free treats contain xylitol, which can cause severe hypoglycemia and sometimes liver failure in pets.

Do not share table scraps with your pet, and you must instruct guests to refrain from doing so as well. Ensure you always keep food intended for people out of your pet’s reach. In addition, securely close trash cans to keep your pet from snagging harmful leftovers or debris from the bin.  

#2: Ensure pets and guests practice good pet-iquette 

When hosting a holiday gathering, set aside an area or room in which your pet can decompress. Ensure you let guests know how they can help keep your pet safe by explaining these tips:

  • Set ground rules — Ask guests to refrain from slipping treats under the table to your dog or cat, and to keep drinks, coats, purses, and hazardous gifts out of your pet’s reach.
  • Create a haven for your pet  Not all pets are party animals, and a party’s commotion may cause them stress and anxiety. Create a quiet haven that allows your pet to relax away from the commotion. Play calming music, provide a soft, cozy bed, and distract your pet by giving them a long-lasting treat. Remind your guests that your pet wants to be alone when they are in their quiet spot.
  • Secure your pet — To help ensure your pet cannot bolt out of the house, remind guests to keep all doors and gates closed. In addition, ensure your pet wears their current identification (ID) tags at all times. For the greatest peace of mind, have your pet microchipped, so they always have a permanent ID. 

#3: Choose pet-safe holiday presents

During this magical season, most of us thoroughly enjoy giving gifts to loved ones, including our pets. Pets aren’t picky about toys, but ensure you give your furry pal a gift that is pet-safe. Avoid giving your pet toys that are small enough for them to ingest. In addition, do not give your pet toys that have embellishments, such as ribbon or string, that your furry pal could swallow. Give your pet toys you can clean, such as items you can machine wash or wipe down to kill germs and bacteria. When shopping for your favorite furry friend, consider giving them these holiday gifts:

  • Orthopedic bed — If your pet’s current bed has lost its shape or plushness, consider an upgrade this holiday season. Orthopedic pet beds are designed to provide support while cushioning your pet’s bony joints, especially their hips, knees, and elbows. A heated bed or insert can ease joint and muscle pain, and are especially helpful for older, arthritic pets. 
  • Secure leash, collar, and harness — An old collar can show general wear and tear, leaving your pet vulnerable to escaping without their collar and ID tags. If your pet’s collar, leash, or harness has seen better days, replace them, taking the time to choose the right size and style for you and your pet. 
  • Durable chew toy — When choosing a chew toy for your pet, look for something durable, such as a Kong, which is made from nontoxic and sustainable materials. 
  • Plaque-busting dental chews — Dental disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed pet conditions. Spoil your pet while protecting their oral health by giving them dental treats and chews. To ensure your pet receives a dental product’s maximum benefit, purchase items that feature the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance. Such products must meet the organization’s strict standards for effectively retarding plaque and tartar buildup.

Safety and comfort are the gifts for which your pet will be grateful this holiday season. In addition, give your pet the gift of health by scheduling their regular preventive care visit with our Driftwood Animal Hospital team, and help ensure you and your furry pal enjoy many more holidays together.