Keep your furry friends safe and jolly throughout the holiday season with these helpful hints

Published 10:58 pm Sunday, December 3, 2023

From lighting the menorah to waiting for Santa Paws, it’s important to keep pets safe and out of harm’s way this holiday season.

Best Friends Animal Society encourages pet owners to take necessary precautions in their homes and advise any visitors on best practices around furry friends.  

Many human holiday traditions involve food, decorations and plants. While these may seem harmless, they can be dangerous and even life-threatening to dogs and cats.

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To keep the holiday season joyful, merry, and bright, Best Friends is offering the below tips to keep pets safe and on the nice list this holiday season.

  • Be aware that increased noise and lights can cause stress in dogs and cats. If pets seem agitated, turn down the music or consider placing them in a quiet, calm room with dim lighting.  
  • Keep candles and open flames on high surfaces out of reach of pets. When candles are lit, always monitor both the flame itself and where pets are in relation to it.  
  • Tape electrical cords safely to the wall and make sure that all connections, batteries, and outlets are concealed from curious canines and kittens.  
  • The water a Christmas tree sits in is a breeding ground for bacteria and can be extremely harmful to pets. Keep water covered with a thick skirt to prevent dogs and cats from getting into it.   
  • Holiday plant staples including lilies, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are known to be toxic to pets and should be kept on high surfaces. 
  • Tinsel, ribbon, metal hooks, plastic and glass can obstruct or perforate the intestines of pets if ingested. Use an alternative such as paper and hang decorations where pets can’t reach. 
  • Curb the tendency to give your dog or cat human food and dispose of trash as soon as possible. Any change in your pets’ diet may give them indigestion, diarrhea or worse.  
    • Foods that people should avoid giving their pets include chocolate, grapes, onions, poultry bones, eggnog, nutmeg, raisins and fruitcake.   
  • Make sure your pets’ identification and microchip are up to date in case anyone inadvertently leaves the door open during your holiday celebration.  

 This holiday season, shelters across the country are short-staffed and well over capacity.

Individuals can choose to give back and help save lives by choosing to adopt a deserving pet from a shelter or rescue group instead of purchasing from a breeder or pet store.  

If adopting isn’t an option right now, there are still ways to help. 

Making sure all pets at home are spayed or neutered, fostering kittens or adult dogs, volunteering, donating and advocating for local pets will all help with the current shelter crisis seen across the country.  

To learn more about how to save a pet’s life this holiday season, visit