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Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Cold Weather Tips

  • Keep pets inside during the cold weather if possible

  • Provide them insulated shelter that keeps them safe from the harsh weather

  • Before getting into your vehicle and driving make sure to check the hood and under tires for any animal that may be seeking warmth (specifically stray cats!)

  • Knock on your hood a couple of times and/or honk your horn to scare off any animals that may be under your car

  • Winter clothing on pets

  • When making a decision to put warm winter clothing your pets, consider their size, breed, and the outside temperature

  • Small dogs and breeds with short hair coats have a harder time retaining heat when outside so they may need a sweater or coat

  • Breeds with lots of fur such as dogs that are Pomeranian, husky, chow chow, and Great Pyrenees do not need additional clothing during the winter as their coats give them enough insulation

  • Don’t have your pets wear their winter clothing when indoors, this can cause them to overheat easily

  • Remove clothing items from pets when they are no longer needed to prevent irritation of the skin

  • Always make sure the clothing is comfortable for your pet and does not restrict them from moving, if your pet is new to clothing be patient with them and introduce the clothing slowly, it can be quite stressful on them if you introduce it too quickly

  • Never leave your pet without any supervision when wearing any clothing item

Holiday decorations and seasonal plants tips

  • Christmas trees

  • Make sure trees are secured as they can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with lights and ornaments

  • Christmas tree water additives

  • The water base of a tree can be hazardous to your pets as they contain fertilizers and other dangerous chemicals

  • Flowers and festive plants

  • Holly: Cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested

  • Mistletoe: Cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems

  • Lilies: Can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested

  • Christmas lights, tinsel, and ornaments

  • Keep tree lights and tinsel from draping at the bottom where pets can get to them (especially cats who love colorful and light-catching “toys” )

  • Broken ornaments can cause injuries and if ingested can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity

  • Keep wires and batteries out of reach

  • Can cause a lethal electrical shock and batteries can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus

  • Candles: Do not leave candles unattended as pets can knock them over

Holiday gifts for pets

  • Make sure any toy gifts do have sharp pieces or edges

  • No long strings, cords, ribbons, or unraveled fabrics

  • Contain no small parts, stuffing, or other items that pets could swallow

  • Safe Christmas gifts

  • Tennis balls

  • Cardboard tubes and crinkled paper balls (for cats)

  • Chew toys/food dispensing toys (KONG toys) are great for dogs

  • Treats: make sure to look at the ingredients and avoid those that contain toxic foods

Holiday food dangers

  • Chocolate

  • Toxic to dogs and cats

  • Other sweets and baked goods

  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, chewing gum, and candy can cause liver failure and death in dogs and cats

  • Yeast dough

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Grapes and raisins

  • Salt

  • Raw eggs

  • Coffee

Holiday Gathering

  • The excitement of a party/gathering can be overwhelming to some pets

  • Offer them a quiet room with plenty of toys to keep them busy and distracted

  • Inform your visitors that you have pets

  • If guests ask to bring their own pets either politely decline their request or plan to spend time acclimating pets to each other before the gathering

  • Make sure all your medications are locked behind secure doors

  • New year’s noise: many animals, especially dogs, are scared of fireworks;

  • make sure they are in a secured safe place that is escape-proof

  • always make sure that your pet has some sort of identification (collar with an ID tag or a microchip) in case they do end up escaping and getting lost

Holiday travel

  • Pets in vehicles should always be safely restrained and never be left alone in the car in any weather

  • Do not transport your pet in the bed of a truck unless they are properly secured in a carrier

  • Always make sure your pets have collars and tags with ID

  • In case of emergencies

  • Identify local emergency veterinary clinics

  • Write and store phone numbers of the veterinarian or pet hospital clinic

  • Write down holiday hours

  • Go to your local animal shelters if pets go missing

  • Make sure to take a good picture of your pet to make it easier to identify and to create flyers

  • Contact animal poison control if your pet has ingested any harmful foods

Works Cited

Baggaley, Kate. “Five Thanksgiving Foods That Are Not Safe for Cats and Dogs.” Popular Science, 20 Nov. 2018,

“Holiday Safety Tips | ASPCA.” ASPCA, ASPCA, Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

“Holiday Safety Tips | Life With Pets | Blog | Animal League.” Animal League,, 13 Dec. 2018,

“Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | The Humane Society of the United States.” The Humane Society of the United States, Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

McKenna, Rosyln. “Pet Holiday Gifts | PetSafe®.” PetSafe® | Dog Fences | Feeders | Collars | Cat Litter Boxes, Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

“Top Holiday Pet Safety Tips: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve - Central California SPCA, Fresno, CA Holiday Pet Safety Tips: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.” Central California SPCA, Fresno, CA,, 20 Nov. 2018,

“Winter Holiday Pet Safety | American Veterinary Medical Association.” American Veterinary Medical Association, Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

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