Ready or not, here they come! Keeping your pet safe around the holidays

As the leftover Halloween candy dwindles (which, let’s face it, we all purchase extra for this reason), it is time to transition to planning for the rapidly approaching holidays! The end of the year is a time often spent with our friends and family. Of course, these gatherings would not be complete without our furry family members! While celebrating the holidays is fun and games for us,  our animal companions can be surrounded by dangers at every turn.  Here are a few suggestions to help protect your pet while hosting guests:

1.The holidays can leave us with aches and pains from traveling, stress, and maybe a little too much partying. Pain medications we reach for to help alleviate discomfort can be extremely dangerous to our furry friends. Designate a room or closet in your home to store all coats, bags, and purses your guests may bring. Pets are naturally curious, and an open purse on the couch or on the floor is an invitation for your pet to explore medication containers. If your guests are staying for a longer period of time, you can communicate the importance of medication safety with them and ensure all medications are stored out of your pets’ reach.

2.The holidays are the perfect time for gift giving, but certain gifts pose a risk for serious complications. Some of the most common gifts that can endanger our pets are flowers and chocolates. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures in our pets. Many flowers and plants can be very toxic to both dogs and cats. While some can cause mild signs, other are extremely toxic. Lilies are so toxic to cats that even having pollen on their noses or drinking the vase water can lead to kidney failure. When in doubt, lock up those gifts until you can confirm they are safe to have around your four-legged companions.

3.When the party is going, the drinks start flowing. Whatever your drink of choice is, keep your pets away from any alcohol. Alcohol can be toxic to dogs and cats. Due to how rapidly it is absorbed, your pet may already be showing signs of toxicity by the time you realize they stole your drink! Keep track of your drinks or consider keeping your pets in a separate room if they are known to be overly curious.

The holidays can be stressful enough as it is. Adding a sick pet to the mix, or an emergency room visit can ruin the holiday cheer. during the holidays. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your pets safe and enjoy your holidays to the fullest! For more tips on how to keep your pet safe during the holidays, check out our Pet Poison Helpline® blog page!

If you want to check if something is toxic to your pet PRIOR to exposure, visit the following link:

If you suspect your pet was exposed to a toxin, please call (855) 764-7661 or take your pet to a veterinarian.



Written by:

Written by Gabi Oliveira, PPH DVM student extern, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Class of 2023

Lizzy Olmsted, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist