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Keeping Pets Safe During The Holidays

Claire Buchanan

Holiday celebrations can mean health and safety risks for pets. But there are a few things you can do to keep the festivities merry and avoid an unexpected vet visit.

Susan Cechner is a veterinarian at Elburn Animal Hospital in northern Illinois. She says the most common injuries she sees during the holidays happen when pets eat things they shouldn’t.

Cechner says, “That usually consists of getting into the chocolate, or eating the tinsel, or the turkey carcass. Just generally naughty things that pets like to do that they really shouldn’t be doing. But unfortunately people are distracted by the holiday.”

Cechner says people should tie their garbage bags securely and keep food scraps away from pets. Common foods like gravy, turkey, and onions can be hard to digest or even poisonous.

If you have guests coming over for a holiday party, pets may get anxious. They can also get lost with doors opening as people come and go.

Cechner says pet owners may want to put their pets in a quiet room during parties to keep them safe and calm. She says, “A lot of times, pets are underfoot, people are feeding them things they shouldn’t get fed, they’re slipping out the door because people aren’t paying attention to the cat or whatever. And they’re getting lost in the middle of all the hubbub.”

Cechner says people should also make sure their pets have microchips and ID tags.

Other festive dangers include light cords that pets might chew on, or toxic plants like poinsettias and holly. Keep these out of reach of pets, and unplug your decorations when you’re not around.