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Seven safety tips for pet owners during the holiday season!

It’s that time of year when we, the “die hard” pet lovers spoil our pets. By now, you may have taken your pet to see Santa, bought a pet stocking, or even made Christmas cards from your pet.

But, have you given thought to how to keep your pet safe this holiday season? We are happy to help! Here’s a few ideas to help make sure the fun continues…and there are no unplanned veterinary visits.


If you decided to set up a tree this year, a few modifications can make all the difference. 

  • First of all, avoid using anything string-like on your tree such as tinsel. Tinsel, if eaten can actually shred the intestines, causing massive internal issues and even death. So, just skip it! 
  • A few other hazards on the tree to avoid: anything that would be really sharp if it falls and smashes, and real candles (for obvious reasons!). 
  • Consider attaching your tree to the wall so that it can’t fall over

We’ve seen everything from hanging a tree upside down from the ceiling, to starting decorations halfway up the tree. Do whatever it takes to keep it fun and safe!



It’s always fun to decorate for the holidays, but it’s important to choose safe items. 

  • Poinsettias for example can cause stomach upset and more if ingested  
  • Scented oils may or may not be tolerated by your pets; always choose pet-safe products. And of course, there’s size to consider. 
  • Putting out a dish full of small circular Christmas bulbs on your coffee table looks like a bowl full of toy balls to a dog!



 Let’s face it, your pets can never have too many toys. Agree? Many of our pets have their own stockings and we love wandering the pet supply store aisles picking just the “right” items to stuff inside. Here’s a few tips to ensure you make the right purchase.

  • Always buy based on the largest size pet in the home. If you are buying a little toy for your small dog, it could be a choking hazard for your larger dog. Instead, choose a larger, but light-weight toy so they can both enjoy it.
  • If your pet is a “chewer” reconsider buying toys that have small items on them such as ribbons, noses, eyeballs, bells etc. Small items can be gnawed off, ingested and cause issues later.
  • Toys designed for chewing can be fun, but as the animal chews, they can get smaller and smaller. Eventually the remainder of the chew toy is a choking hazard. Keep a watchful eye on pets with chew toys.



Ahhhh, one of the best parts of the holidays…and your pets think so too! 

  • That box of chocolate you bought Uncle Max might just disappear from under the tree when you aren’t looking. Same with the ones you put out for guests on the coffee table. Find a better spot for chocolate that is out of reach.
  • Fresh baking is also a pet favourite – be sure to keep it up high.
  • Keep your pet away from the hot oven. And keep a pet first aid kit on hand…just in case.
  • And then there’s the turkey! Just last month a photo circulated of a dog who stole someone’s American Thanksgiving turkey...
  • Also, remember that cats are stealthy! Placing food items on the kitchen counter doesn’t always do the trick. Food with excessive amounts of grease/fat can make pets really sick. Your cat lapping up gravy from the counter, or chewing on your apple pie crust just isn’t a good idea. Make sure everything is well covered from those hungry cats.
  • Alcohol: we all know this is a no-go for pets, but if it’s lying around they might lap it up. Please be responsible with alcohol.

If your pet does ingest something that you think is harmful, contact Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Poison Control for help.



Having visitors over for holiday parties, Christmas, and New Year’s eve can be loads of fun! But less face it, for pets, the hustle bustle can be a little overwhelming. A few quick modifications will help everyone enjoy the day:

  • Ask your friends to text on arrival instead of constant doorbell ringing or knocking
  • Put a baby gate across the front door so no one runs out during exit/entry
  • Ask friends to let pets come to them when they are ready
  • Ensure your pets have a safe, quiet place to go if they don’t want to be part of the action.



New Year’s Eve has a few more quick modifications to keep the pets happy! If you are expecting loud fireworks, pots banging outside etc. consider the following:

  • Close all windows, blinds and curtains
  • Put some relaxing music on
  • Make sure your pet is safely inside when the clock strikes midnight
  • If your pet suffers from extreme anxiety during fireworks, talk to your veterinarian about safe medications and/or over-the-counter anti-anxiety options.



Last but not least, keep those pets warm! 

  • Don’t leave your pet outside, or in your vehicle unattended over the winter months. Temperatures drop quickly and it’s hard to maintain core body temperature.
  • Well fitted, weather appropriate gear such as sweaters, coats, snoods, and even doggie snow boots can make all the difference to your pet this season. 
  • Remember, make sure nothing is too snug – especially around the armpits and chest. 
  • If your pet isn’t used to wearing winter gear, get them used to it slowly overtime…and get treats involved. Wearing warm clothing should be something your pet looks forward to!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season from RC Pets and Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid!




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Saturday, December 28th, 2019 at 12:09AM
Well written Happy New Year!!
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