Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Happy holidays from the College of Veterinary Medicine! Here are 5 tips to help keep your pets safe this season:Cat and Dog Santa

  1. Try to maintain a consistent and predictable daily schedule, even though you may have time off during the holidays. For example, wake up, walk or play with your pets, and keep meals on a similar schedule as you would on work or school days.
  2. Unplug the Christmas tree and block your pet's access to it when you are not able to supervise. Lights and ornaments may look like appealing toys to pets, many of which may be dangerous if ingested or chewed. Other decorative items that are potentially toxic or dangerous include mistletoe, poinsettia plants, lilies, tinsel, electrical cords, gift-wrap ribbons and lit candles. Do not let them drink water in the base of your live Christmas tree if you have added plant preservatives.
  3. Ingestion of holiday foods can cause foreign body/ toxic reaction / pancreatitis. Inappropriate bones (e.g. turkey bones), chocolate, high fat foods, onions, macadamia nuts, raisins, and grapes are some foods that are very dangerous. Provide your dog with a special enrichment toy (i.e. Kong, Twist-n-Treat) during large holiday dinners to discourage begging and to prevent your pets from eating human food items that may be high in fat or contain chocolate. Your guests may not realize that certain foods are toxic for pets, so be sure to inform them before they may sneak your pet some treats.
  4. If your pet does not do well with visitors, it may be best to board her if you are having a large gathering in your home during the holidays. If that is not possible, try to set up a safe, quiet room where stressors are minimized and visitors will not bother your pet. Enrichment toys, dog appeasing pheromone (D.A.P.®), soothing music (Through a Dog’s Ear®), and a source of sound-blocking white noise may also encourage relaxation in this special room.
  5. Some pets may not travel well and may feel more secure if left home with a pet-sitter, or boarded, rather than traveling with you over the holidays.

Despite taking precautions, sometimes accidents do happen. The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for companion animal, farm animal, and equine emergencies. If your animal needs emergency treatment, please call our Columbus hospital 614-292-3551 (companion animals) or 614-292-6661 (horses and farm animals) or our Dublin, Ohio location at 614-889-8070 (dogs and cats).