by Photo courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society

The holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year with food, festivities, and gatherings with loved ones. It is also one of the most stressful for pets. 

The San Diego Humane Society provided the following pet safety tips to help owners keep their furry family members from harm's way this holiday season:

1. Sharing certain holiday foods with your animal companion can be dangerous. Too much fatty or rich food can lead to digestive problems. Some foods, such as onions, grapes/raisins, and chocolate, can be toxic. If your pets ingest alcohol, contact your veterinarian.

2. Indulge your pets by providing safe treats in meaningful ways, such as in an enrichment toy or game, which can provide hours of entertainment, or by preparing sealed snack bags and letting your guests reward your furry friend.

3. Christmas trees can be hazardous, particularly for climbing cats, so make sure your tree is secure, preferably in a corner. Keep dangerous ornaments such as glass and tinsel on high branches, out of the reach of little paws. Dangling tree ornaments can seem like great toys for cats and dogs. Cords from lights should be taped down or otherwise secured to prevent pets from chewing on them.

4. Keep an eye on items under the tree! Don’t let pets drink water from the base of a live tree as it may be stagnant and contain bacteria. Ribbons and bows can be a choking hazard, and any packages filled with edible gifts are likely to be discovered.

5. Holiday season plants can be toxic to pets. Amaryllis, Christmas cactus, Christmas rose, evergreens, holly, ivy, juniper, lilies, mistletoe, and poinsettias are just a few examples of plants that can cause digestive upset or more severe toxicity to pets if eaten.

6. Place burning candles high, out of your pet’s way. A dog’s tail wag or a cat’s curiosity could be devastating. Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.

7. Give your pet a quiet, secure place to escape the commotion. Our pets can get stressed with noise and activity and want somewhere safe to relax. Make sure they have their bed, favorite toys, food, water, and a litter box for cats.

8. Keep your pet on their regular schedule for feeding and exercise. Pets thrive on routine and increased activity during the holiday season can upset that routine. Be sure they get plenty of love and attention from you!

9. Keep your pets safely indoors and always make sure they're wearing current ID tags with a phone number. Holiday distractions may make it easier for pets to escape through open doors. 

10. Not all pets enjoy costumes. Holiday sweaters may seem irresistible, but let your pet be if they don’t enjoy dressing up. 

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