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The holidays are a magical time for the whole family. As we anticipate the gatherings and celebrations, many of us hope to include our pets in the fun. Being intentional in your planning helps to make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday celebration.

Things To Do:

  • Plan ahead. You may want to consider including your pets in your traditions and celebrations. Consider creating their own unique fun. If they have any special considerations, please take those in mind when planning how you want to involve them.
  • Have appropriate treats. When you or your guests are tempted to sneak people food to your pet, having a few appropriate treats may save the day. Commercial dog treats are great, or you can change it up for a special occasion with a healthy homemade treat. Carrots, green beans or a little canned pumpkin are great low-calorie options.
  • New toys. Whether you like to include your pet in the gift-giving or are looking for something new to entertain them with while you are busy, a new, pet-specific toy is fun for everyone.
  • Have a safe space available. As much as we enjoy the holiday magic of guests, music, decorations, lights and noise, your pet may be frightened or overwhelmed by the festivities. Provide a safe, quiet space that your pet can retreat to.

Things to Avoid:

  • Feeding your pet people food. Turkey skin and bones are not safe. Avoid fatty meats and foods, sweets, dairy, grapes or raisins, garlic, onions, yeast dough, candy, or chocolate.
  • Unattended food areas. Watch the buffet, counters, table, or stove. Don’t forget to cover the trash. Some pets are very adept at helping themselves to food left unattended.
  • Unsupervised treating. Children and guests may love to treat your pets. Have appropriate toys and treats so they can include your pet.
  • Scented candles. Potpourri and essential oils may be toxic to your pet. Birds are especially sensitive. You may want to avoid them altogether or check carefully to make sure they are safe for your pets.
  • Dangerous decorations. Some decorations can be dangerous for your pet. Avoid anything string-like, such as tinsel or garland, which could be swallowed. Check ornaments for sharp edges or small parts. Watch electrical cords and prevent pets from chewing on them.
  • Toxic Plants. Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can be toxic if ingested. Watch for signs that someone is nibbling on them or avoid having them.
  • Alcohol is not safe for pets. Some pets, especially puppies, can be eager to share your drink. Keep a close eye on it and keep it out of reach.

The holidays are a busy, wonderful time of year! As you look forward to all the wonderful things that come with this season, be sure to include your pets in your planning. Building happy memories and avoiding mishaps will make your holidays a safe and exciting time for everyone.

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