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Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy Over the Holidays

Avoid these holiday hazards and keep your furry friends safe during the festive season

Child wearing fabric reindeer antlers facing dog wearing matching antlers

With the busy holiday season just around the corner, it’s important to keep pets safe, whether that means avoiding plants and foods that are poisonous to pets or decorating with safety in mind. Here are four simple things to do to help keep your furry friend healthy and happy this time of year.

Keep Christmas trees standing

To help prevent both live and fake Christmas trees from toppling over and potentially injuring pets, invest in a quality stand, set the tree up in a corner of the room and secure it to a wall or the ceiling using clear fishing wire.

Be careful with holiday decorations

Sparkly ornaments and strings of glowing lights create a perfect seasonal setting, but they can also be tempting to curious cats and dogs. Cords are a tangle hazard and can burn fur and skin. Swatted ornaments, meanwhile, can break and cut little mouths and paws, and pose a risk of choking or intestinal blockage if accidentally swallowed.

Hang lights and delicate baubles on higher branches where pets can’t easily reach them. Go without tinsel as it can cause digestive obstructions, vomiting and dehydration if swallowed, which often requires a trip to the emergency vet.

Learn which plants are poisonous to pets

Avoid decorating with lilies, pine, balsam, cedar, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and amaryllis. While not all are fatally toxic, most will cause—at the very least—tummy upset, skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, and some can even cause cardiovascular issues and kidney failure. If you do go with a live Christmas tree, cover the stand so pets can’t drink the water.

Hosting holiday parties? Don't let guests offer table scraps

While it’s best to limit giving pets human food year-round, holiday goodies can be particularly harmful, as they’re often richer, fattier and sweeter. Chocolate is commonly known to be dangerous for dogs, but other foods can be poisonous as well, such as onions, grapes, raisins, a variety of nuts and baked goods sweetened with xylitol (an artificial sweetener believed to cause liver failure and even death in dogs).

If you want to give your cat or dog human food, stick to blander options, such as white rice, apples, carrots and cooked chicken.

Keep pets safe—and save

CAA Members get 25% off select regular-priced pet safety and travel products in store at Ren’s Pets. Find out more!

Plus, see how to get your guest room ready for the holidays and how to make green household cleaners for an eco-friendly scrub.

Image credit: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic