The holidays are here, and with them come potential risks to family pets. Keep your home safe, yet cheery, this season with our 12 days of holiday hazards.

Day 1: Christmas tree safety

Both artificial and real pine trees are fine, but you may need to tether your tree to a wall or door frame to keep curious puppies and kittens from knocking it down. If you choose a real tree, place a barrier around the base to prevent pets from drinking the water. 

Day 2: Fire safety

From menorahs to fireplaces, it’s hard to imagine a holiday home without candles or a cozy fire, but enjoy these delights safely. Ensure candles are placed far out of your pet’s reach, on a stable surface, away from curtains or other dangling decor, and that fireplaces are covered and never left unattended. 

Day 3: Decor safety

Glass ornaments, dangling tinsel, and string garlands look beautiful, but they can tempt inquisitive pets, who may ingest, or become entangled in, these potentially dangerous objects. Foreign objects can become lodged in a pet’s intestinal tract and cause serious problems, possibly requiring surgery. Refrain from using these items, or keep them out of your pet’s reach. 

Day 4: Food safety

Most pet owners know that some foods, such as chocolate and grapes, are toxic or dangerous for pets. Other foods, including turkey skin, gravy, and other butter-laden vegetables, can lead to a painful and serious condition called pancreatitis, along with vomiting and diarrhea. Never feed your pet any table scraps. 

Day 5: Plant safety

Many popular holiday plants, including holly, poinsettia, and mistletoe, can be dangerous for pets, if ingested. Some plants, such as lilies, are particularly dangerous to cats. Keep these plants out of reach or, better yet, don’t bring them into the home at all. 

Day 6: Party safety

Parties may sound like all fun and games, but many pets become anxious and stressed with loud noises and strangers in their home. If you are planning a holiday party, secure a quiet, safe area for your pet where she can retreat should she need a break during the festivities. 

Day 7: Gift safety

New toys and gadgets can be as enticing to pets as to people. They can also induce anxiety in our furry friends, especially items that make loud noises or sudden movements. Monitor your pet’s reaction around new devices and advise children on proper toy usage around pets. 

Day 8: Light safety

A holiday home isn’t complete without twinkly lights to brighten up a room or the tree, but they must be used responsibly. Ensure lights are unplugged or turned off before you leave home, and that pets, particularly those who like to chew, are monitored, as electric shock is a serious risk. 

Day 9: Battery safety

Many popular holiday decorations and toys come equipped with batteries. Surprisingly, battery ingestion is common in pets, and can cause serious gastrointestinal chemical burns, so ensure you and your children keep all battery-operated toys, remotes, lights, and other items away from pets. 

Day 10: Gift-wrapping safety

While most pets can have innocent fun with a ball of wrapping paper, others may ingest the material or the ribbon, leading to gastrointestinal problems. Monitor your pet closely during gift-opening, and recycle materials promptly. 

Day 11: Visitor safety

Hold a pet meeting when your house guests arrive, to ensure everyone’s safety. Does Fluffy not like her ears touched? Is she protective of her food? Advise visitors of your pet’s quirks, and request that all medications, toiletries, and other potentially dangerous items be stored out of reach. 

Day 12: Emergency care safety

While no pet owner wants to anticipate a veterinary emergency, there is no substitute for being prepared. Ensure that you have Urgent Pet Care of Omaha’s contact information available at all times, as well as the Animal Poison Control Center information. Place stickers to alert firefighters of indoor pets, and update your pet’s identification tags and microchip information.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding holiday hazards, contact us, and we will help ensure your pet stays safe.