Some pets enjoy the holidays, and some don’t. Even pets who love to be social can find holiday get-togethers overwhelming when new faces and unfamiliar scents enter the home. However, a few best practices can help with creating a safe environment for pets during the holidays.
Designate a Quiet Zone
A quiet zone is an essential part of holiday safety for pets. This zone might be a crate or kennel, a cat tree box or plush pet cave, or a hiding spot in the linen closet or under a dresser or bed. It might also be a cozy pet bed in a separate room with a closing door.
Pet parents should establish the zone (if it doesn’t already exist) a few days before the first guests arrive. The zone should also be in a low-traffic part of the home. Then, should a cat or dog become anxious or overly excited, pet parents can direct them to the zone with plenty of toys and treats for comfort.
Have Calming Products Nearby
Even with the quiet zone, pets may benefit from calming products. Natural calming sprays, chews, and diffusers can help make anxious pets feel more comfortable around guests. If multiple pets are in the home, unless otherwise instructed, pet parents with many pets should avoid intermixing dog anxiety medication and cat anxiety medication because each product is formulated for that species.
Inform Visitors of House Rules
House rules can go a long way toward creating a safe environment for pets during the holidays. Guests of any age, especially children, may want to play with a new cat or dog. However, large gatherings with too much noise and distraction may not mix well with playtime. Pet parents should inform visitors of playtime guidelines or whether it’s best to leave pets alone and give them space.
Know Which Holiday Treats are Pet-Safe
Holiday foods are often appealing to pets, but not all are safe to eat. Pet parents should make sure their pets never get access to the following foods:
- Treats containing xylitol (a sweetener)
- Raw eggs
- Grapes and raisins
- Any meat with bones or seasoning
- High-fat foods: turkey skin, fried foods, gravy
- Onions and garlic (raw or cooked)
- Yeast dough
- Citrus and fruit pits
Practice Décor Safety
Decorations are another part of the holidays that can cause hazards for a pet. To keep the home festive but safe, pet parents should avoid or keep out of reach anything that can harm pets should they touch, chew, or ingest it.
- Tinsel can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed.
- Ornaments can act as choking or cutting hazards if broken.
- Christmas trees and greenery can have chemicals in the water or toxic foliage.
- Candles and potpourri may be toxic if consumed or cause burns.
- Wiring can lead to electrical shock.
- Holiday plants like holly, yew, mistletoe, poinsettia, amaryllis, and lilies can be hazardous.
Teach the “Drop It” Command
Sometimes, a pet may still get a hold of something they shouldn’t. For dog health, pet parents should teach them the “drop it” command to ensure their pet stays safe. This command shows dogs that they’ll get something in return — such as a treat, a toy, or the warm attention of their pet parent — if they drop whatever item is in their mouth.
Pet Advice from the Experts
Pet parents who need cat or dog advice during the holiday festivities and beyond can reach out to the Fuzzy Veterinarian Team for 24/7 Live Vet Chat.