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Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Some of you have walked through this experience: you took your eyes off your pet for a brief moment. The next thing you knew, you were on your way to an emergency vet near Fort Collins. Holiday festivities draw friends and family which increases the chances of your pet getting into something they shouldn’t (and normally wouldn’t). This time of year presents new hazards and foods giving your pet more opportunities to injure or make themselves sick.

Whether you’re entertaining for the holidays or traveling with your pet this year, there are several things you should consider to keep your pets safe this holiday season.

Avoid a Trip to the Emergency Room
From food to decorations, your house will have more items that are unsafe for pets during the holidays. Many veterinarians will attest that poisoning and obstruction hazards are much more common around the holidays. Here are the most common hazards you need to be aware of to protect your pet:

We all love and count the days for, our holiday feasts. A holiday dinner might be the one time the entire family sits down for a meal all year. Keep your pet safe by staying aware of their access to food.

First, make sure that you have a safe way to dispose of your food scraps. Pets getting into garbage cans or table scraps are the cause of many emergency room trips during the holidays. Minimize your pet’s access to food scraps and food packaging by having a safe and secure place to quickly disposed of it. Clearing the dining table of leftover food will also help limit your pet’s chances of ingesting something that will make them ill.

Remember that some foods we eat will make your pet sick and may even be life-threatening. Baked goods are almost never safe for pets to eat due to their sugar and chocolate content. Foods such as onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins can be deadly if eaten. Even turkey and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis in pets. Pay special attention to where these foods are during meals and keep an eye on your pets. Refer to the ASCPA’s list of human foods not to feed your pets for more information

The most dangerous object in your house during this time of year for your pets is probably the Christmas tree. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having one; just be careful with where you place your tree and take precautions to make it as safe as possible.
Experienced vets have seen many Christmas tree-related injuries to pets. One common way pets get hurt by Christmas trees is by tipping them over. Dogs and cats can be easily fascinated by your ornaments and want to play with them. Consider securing your tree to the wall using some fishing line or string. You may want to consider avoiding placing lights and ornaments on the lower part of your tree to limit your pet’s access to them. Pets may break ornaments or lights which could lead to cuts or an electrical shock. Playing with these items also increases the chance of the tree tipping. Cats are skilled at climbing trees and gaining access to decorations, so knowing how to decorate and keep them safe may take some creativity.

Many holiday plants are toxic to pets. If decorating with holly or poinsettia, make sure that your pet, especially your cat, cannot access them. These plants are poisonous to cats. Learn more about hazardous holiday plants from the Pet Poison Helpline. Make sure any decorations you have in areas where your pet could reach are not hazardous. Also, make sure you avoid placing those items where they can fall or be knocked over.

Traveling and Guests
Traveling with or without your pet and hosting guests can lead to potential hazards. Dogs, especially in all scenarios that disrupt their routines, are more likely to act out and put themselves in dangerous situations. If you’re leaving your dog with a sitter or at a boarding facility, you can leave them with a few of their toys or a personal item that smells like you to help minimize anxiety. If you know that your dog has eaten toys or other items in the past, be careful leaving items in a kennel with them. Dogs are more likely to chew up and ingest toys and bedding during times of stress or in new environments. When hosting guests at home, educate your guests about how to appropriately interact with your pet. You may even set aside a comfortable room where your pet can hang out safely without disruption during your party.

For more information on holiday pet safety, contact Royal Vista Veterinary Specialists.


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Royal Vista Veterinary Specialists


4630 Royal Vista Circle, Ste 11 Windsor, CO 80528

Clinic Hours

Emergency department: Friday-Sunday: 24 Hours Monday: 12:01 AM - 9:00 PM Tuesday-Friday: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Surgery Department: Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (by appointment only) Internal Medicine Department: Tuesday-Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (by appointment only)