Keep Your Holiday Merry and BrightAmidst the holiday season, everyone is in good cheer and high spirits as colorful décor is sprinkled about and good food is shared in bounty.

Box after box is unpacked and treats are passed around, but don’t forget the ever so watchful furry or scaly one waiting at your feet or climbing over your shoulder. An emergency veterinary visit would be just the trick to ruin such merriment this holiday season. So, here are a few tips to review as we sink deeper into the holidays:


A good rule of thumb for any pet parent is to always keep people food away from pets. Instead, practice offering your pet a holiday treat formulated just for them. Several delicious morsels we consume as humans are actually quite toxic to pets and should be kept out of their reach and out of their stomachs. Some common holiday food dangers are chocolate, table scraps, yeast dough, garlic, onions, alcohol and nuts.


Pets big and small are often tempted by some of the décor choices we’ve made for the holidays. It’s no one’s fault we are all attracted to the brightly colorful items hung on a tree or the flashy bits of tinsel strewn on a mantel. We can however limit or exchange these disastrous temptations with safer options.

-Live holiday trees can be swapped for their boxed counterparts so as to avoid pets drinking from a tree’s water dish.

-Ornaments can be attached with clips and placed out of a pet’s reach.

-Tinsel and electric lights should be placed well out of reach so pets are unable to chew and sample the many different colors.

-Candles and essential oils should be removed from a pet’s home as they not only pose a fire hazard but many holiday essential oils are actually toxic to pets. Instead, to achieve the same flickering light effect, use a battery-operated candle.

-Review ASPCA’s 101 Household Pet Dangers to determine if your festive plants post a threat to your pet. You may be surprised to find some common household plants have made the list.


While we may be considering the comfort of our guests, don’t forget to ensure your pet has a safe space as well. Your pet may love the attention from family and friends but overtime, they may become more reserved as they search for a quiet, comfortable place to rest. If this does occur, be your pet’s advocate and provide them the space they need away from visitors.


The holiday season is a time for travel and whether you plan to bring your pet along or not, there are a few things to keep in mind.

-Keep your pet’s vaccines up-to-date in case you plan to travel or board

-Don’t forget to pack your pet’s essentials including food, water, medications, medical records, identification and a pet first aid kit.

-Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle and always safely restrain your pet during transportation.


As good practice, pet owners should always keep an easily accessible list of emergency contact numbers:

-Local veterinarian

-Nearest 24/7 emergency animal hospital

-ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661)

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