Hounds Around the Holidays

Holiday Safety Tips for Celebrating With Your Dog

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Celebrating and sharing meals with friends and family is a joyful part of the holiday season, and making your dog a part of the fun only adds to the magic.

While this time of year holds plenty to think about, your dog deserves the best! Make sure their health and safety are on your list along with the new toys as the holidays roll around.

Whether you’re including your best friend in the festivities or giving them a cozy place to retreat while you party, these pet safety tips will help you have a safe and fun pet-friendly holiday with your pupper. 

Choose Safe Holiday Decorations 

how to keep your cat out of the christmas tree

Chewed or frayed wires can cause electrocution, so place your electrical cords for things like Christmas lights carefully. Secure extra cords in a closet or behind closed doors so your dog doesn’t chew on unplugged wires, either. (This applies to feline friends, too. Check out our post on How to Keep Your Cat Out of the Christmas Tree.)

When decorating the Christmas tree, put any tempting ornaments out of your dog’s reach to help them avoid the urge to tug them off. Chewing on decorations can turn into a major choking hazard, especially ribbons and tinsel, which are responsible for a significant number of pet hospital visits each holiday season. 

In all the joy of Christmas morning, try to keep your dog from getting ahold of any wrapping paper. Chewing it up and ingesting it can cause blockage for them when it comes time to go to the bathroom.

Be Mindful of Holiday Plants

Seasonal plants make beautiful holiday decorations, but many of them can be hazardous to your furry friend. Not only are some plants themselves harmful to dogs, but some fertilizers used for house plants can be hazardous as well. 

Mistletoe and holly are popular holiday plants, but they’re also poisonous to dogs when ingested. Some varieties of lilies sold around the holidays can cause kidney failure in dogs when they’re eaten. While poinsettia plants aren’t as toxic to dogs as they’re rumored to be, ingesting them could still cause discomfort and illness. Keeping these away from your dog is important for their health.

It can be a challenge to keep poisonous and dangerous holiday plants out of your dog’s reach. Choosing pet-safe plants is a great way to guarantee you won’t have any mishaps. Another alternative to live plants you can consider are silk flowers or plastic plants to decorate your home with instead.

Don’t Share the Holiday Meal 

dog and pizza

As tempting as it is to want to share your delicious people food with your pup, good pet parents know that too much of it can make a dog’s stomach upset. 

Meats like turkey and ham are traditional holiday food for many families, but the bones found in them can cause pancreatitis or intestinal blockages if dogs ingest them. Other popular holiday ingredients that aren’t good for pet health include garlic, onions, raw or seasoned mashed potatoes.

While there are some holiday foods that are safe to share with your dog, it’s hard to keep track of who might be sharing what and how much human food your dog has had. The easiest way to make sure your dog doesn’t overdo it is to ask your family members not to share any table scraps and stick with mainly pet food, as hard as it may be to say no to that cute face.

Save the Human Holiday Treats for the Humans

Some holiday treats and sweets contain a sugar-like sweetener called xylitol, which can be very harmful to dogs. If ingested they can experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can lead to dangerous seizures or liver failure. 

Sweet treats that contain chocolate are harmful to dogs because their bodies can’t metabolize it correctly. Desserts containing citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits can also cause irritation to your dog’s digestive system.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to avoid sweets altogether! 

Holiday Foods That Are Safe For Dogs: 

holiday dog treats
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweet Potatoes 
  • Pumpkin
  • Rice

Holiday Foods That Are NOT Safe For Dogs:

dog with thanksgiving turkey
  • Bones
  • Ham
  • Stuffing
  • Canned cranberry
  • Pie Filling
  • Raw dough

Secure Your Christmas Tree

Imagine how tempting a beautifully decorated Christmas tree might be to your dog. The shiny ornaments, the pretty lights. Are those Christmas toys waiting to be played with? Your dog may not be able to tell the difference. 

Even with decorations out of normal reach, your dog may get caught up and take the leap—literally! Securing your tree with an anchor will keep your tree and your pet safe, and will prevent it from falling on them or leaving broken ornaments as a potential hazard. 

Prevent Your Dog From Drinking Christmas Tree Water

Christmas tree water can be tempting to drink, but you’ll want to keep your dog from making that a habit. Ingesting pine needles can cause digestive blockage or vomiting for dogs, so you don’t want them eating those along with the sap in the tree water. 

A good way to prevent them from drinking out of the tree stand is to spray lemon or orange scent around the base of it. Most dogs (and cats) don’t like the scent and will steer clear of the tree water. You can use essential oils or a few pumps of a scented cleaning spray around the bottom of your tree.

Another way to keep the tree water from being appealing is by changing your pet’s own water regularly. Clean and fresh water in their bowl will be hard to pass up!

Give Your Dog a Safe Place to Escape 

dog on a cozy dog bed

The holiday season holds a lot of hustle and bustle for families. It often means guests over the house for get-togethers or leaving your dog for a few hours to attend a holiday party.

Your dog may love all the excitement and attention at first, but a shy pup also might become easily overwhelmed by lots of people or a bunch of new faces in their human’s home. A safe place away from the excitement will give your pup a place to take a break if they need it, like a dog bed in an empty room or a cozy spot in the corner.

If you do have to leave your good boy or girl for a while, it’s nice if they can have access to the same safe place while you’re gone. They’ll take comfort in being somewhere familiar, and be just as happy to greet you when you get back home.