The American Veterinary Medicine Association's (AVMA) website has a great tip sheet on how to keep your pets safe during the holidays. Their advice covers food, decorations, parties and travel. Here are some points I found helpful.

The key is to plan ahead.

Tips for holiday pet safety

Food: Keep people food away from pets and buy treats formulated for them. The below foods are especially hazardous.

  • Chocolate.
  • Sweets and baked goods.
  • Turkey and turkey skin. Even in small amounts, this holiday favorite can cause pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps. Many people foods are too rich for pets. Onions, raisins and grapes are good for humans but bad for pets.
  • Yeast bread. This food may cause painful gas and dangerous bloating.
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  • Trees. They can tip over, so be sure they are secure.
  • Tree water. Additives may be poisonous.
  • Ornaments, tinsel etc. Broken items may cause injury and if eaten, items may cause blockages that require surgery.
  • Electric cords. Pets can suffer burns if they chew cords.

  • Always unplug decorations when you go out.

Parties: Events with a lot of people and loud noise may be stressful to your pet.

  • A safe place. Make sure they have a safe, quite place to go during a party.
  • Let guests know you have pets.
  • Avoid letting guests bring pets to your event.
  • Watch exits so pets don't wander out.
  • Clear food afterwards so pets can't eat it.


  • Pets in vehicles should be safely restrained.
  • Air travel may be fine for some pets and bad for others, so talk to your veterinarian first. But do consider taking them with you if it's safe. Air travel may be risky for some short-nosed dogs.
  • Pack for pets, including food, medications, toys, bedding, leash, health certificates, etc.

Also, keep your vet's contact info and the 24/7 emergency vet's contact info handy. The AMVA suggests that if you think your pet has been poisoned or sickened , call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435. They say signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Again, the AVMA has great information about how to keep your pet safe during the holidays, so checkout their website for more ideas and details.

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