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How to Manage Pets During the Holidays

The holidays come with many festive celebrations, but nothing can spoil your holiday cheer like a trip to the vet because of a pet emergency. Follow these tips below to help keep your pet safe and your holidays fun.

A dog and cat laying under Christmas flannel blanket.

1. Find a Safe Place

Find a safe spot for your pet to escape to if the excitement of the holiday becomes too much. This can be a:

  • Crate
  • Kennel
  • Scratching post shelf
  • Perching place
  • Hiding place

A lot of guests can excite, overwhelm or scare your pet, so you may want to consider putting your furry friend in a separate room with a comfortable bed and some toys until the festivities are over.

2. Watch Out for Hazards

Some potential hazards to watch out for according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include chocolate, raisins, mistletoe and poinsettias.

3. Beware of Noisemakers

When you're celebrating, it can be easy to forget that noise from celebratory poppers, party horns and other noisemakers can frighten or excite your pet. This is where that separate room you've established for your pet will come in handy.

4. Secure the Christmas Decorations

Your Christmas tree can easily tip over if your cat or dog decides they want to climb it or play with the ornaments or lights. You may want to consider tying your tree to a door frame or ceiling with a fishing line to keep it securely in place. Keep wires out of your pet's reach. A wire can cause an electrical shock to your pet that could be fatal, and a punctured battery can cause serious injuries. You'll also want to keep plastic or glass ornaments out of reach.

5. Avoid Using Potpourris

Many people like to use fragrant potpourri to create holiday scents in their home. However, you should keep these out of your pet's reach. There are essential oils in potpourri that can severely damage your pet's skin, eyes and mouth, particularly with cats. Due to their highly sensitive metabolic systems, felines should not be exposed to essential oils, according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

6. Keep a Lid on Your Trash Can

There's a lot of activity during the holiday season in your kitchen, and the different tasty smells coming from the garbage can most definitely entice your pet. Therefore, you should keep your trash can covered at all times to avoid choking or other serious stomach issues.

7. Keep Candles Out of Reach

If you're using candles this holiday season to add some extra glow to your celebration, make sure you don't leave your pets unattended near lit candles. A curious paw or long tail could easily get burned or knock the lit candle over and cause a fire. Candle wax warmers can also burn your pet if knocked over. Instead, consider using flameless candles.

8. Keep Wrapped Presents Out of Pets' Reach

These can also pose a threat to a curious dog or cat depending on what's in them. Ensure any wrapped treats or food are kept away from your pets because they can still smell them even though they can't see them.

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