Simple Tips for A Safe Holiday for Your Pets

iStock_dog-santa-rottweilerToday we have a special guest post from dog lover Isabella York:

In the holiday hubbub, everything gets a little fuzzy. With all the details to take care of and people to attend to, food to cook, and decorations to put up, we may forget about our furry friends and their well-being. As pets become part of the family, we may forget that they’re not human. We’ll give them our food to eat from time to time and let them make toys out of things they should not play with. We recently rescued a new puppy, and I really wanted to be mindful of these things. Here is my list of Holiday Pet Safety Tips:

Keep them from eating that!

Little doggy stomachs just can’t handle some of the food you eat. As you’re preparing for meals and parties, it may be tempting to slip your pup a treat, especially because he looks so darn cute in that snowflake sweater. Unfortunately, you need to really be careful with the following foods;

  • Chocolate: The chemicals in chocolate that make us humans feel giddy can actually be fatal to dogs by shorting out their nervous system. Dogs actually love the taste of chocolate, so that may be tempting to give as treats, but the Theobromine in chocolate is extremely dangerous and needs to be avoided. Note: dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate because it contains a higher amount of cocao.
  • Onions: This goes for real onions as well as the powdered stuff. When ingested, onions can kill your pet’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
  • Grapes: A toxin in grapes and raisins can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and at the worst, kidney failure for your pet. It can also raise their sugar level to the point that they cannot urinate and control their body’s glucose level. As much as your dog seems to love popping the tiny grapes in their mouth, keep those away.
  • Alcohol: We’ve seen what it does to people who have had too much. In truth, dogs cannot handle even a little bit of alcohol, and can die after ingesting it once. It is important to keep drinks out of reach as they are very much attracted to the smell of sweet cocktails and may want to steal a slurp.
  • Bones: Try to keep your pet from eating turkey, fish, chicken, and small bones. These thin, splintery bones aren’t usually chewed enough by your pet and they can end up ripping through your dog’s digestive system.

So what can we feed them instead? After swatting them away from all there is on the dinner table, our dog may feel a bit rejected, so whip up these Ankle Biter Peanut Butter Drops that I found on Robin’s FYI Site. They are delish puppy hors d’oeuvres and are definitely pooch friendly.

Keep these away from paws!

We all know how harried and hurried we can get when throwing holiday parties so we may accidentally leave items in puppy reach. These are a few of the items we should keep away from our four-legged friends when preparing for the holidays:

  • Aluminum foil: Used to wrap up leftovers, this shiny material is irresistible to dogs and cats as they can sniff food residue better than we ever can. As soon as you use aluminum foil, throw it away, as aluminum foil can tear up your dog’s intestine and cause death. As much as they look adorable in their aluminum foil hats, or lovingly licking the last of the takeout from the foil, snatch it away before the dog swallows it.
  • Strings from roasts and steaks: Throw them in the trash bin as soon as you can, as the meaty smell on the strings can really entice pets. Once they swallow the string, they may need surgery to remove all the string, depending on the amount ingested.
  • Christmas tree water: Soaking trees in water with preservatives can be harmful to dogs, as the fertilizer can irritate their systems. Secure your tree with a tree skirt or a wrap so Fido and Kitty can’t get to the water.
  • Ornaments: Keep your Christmas tree ornaments, or in this case, all holiday decorations, out of your pet’s reach. Though they may resemble your dog’s favorite chew toy, the plastics from the tinsel, glitter and sequins are toxic to your dog’s system. Keeping them from having the chance to put it in their mouths will keep you from a trip to the vet. Make it up to your pet by getting him his own holiday chew toy, like a rawhide with a mint flavor, or a scratching post done up holiday style. Giving pets their own holiday decorations may keep them from yours.

A pet is part of the family, and we want to keep it that way. These few reminders will have the whole family, two- and four-legged, safe, happy, and healthy throughout the holidays.

Isabella York is an animal lover and a mother. She stays busy keeping both her children and pets happy and healthy, while still finding time for her job with Balsam Hill, a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits,, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.