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Holiday Safety Tips for Pets


The festive season can be a joyous time for families, full of delightful decorations, scrumptious food, and cherished gatherings. However, certain holiday elements may pose risks for our furry family members. Here at Happy Tails Animal Hospital, based in the heart of Renton, WA, we prioritize the well-being of your pets just as much as you do. Here are some essential holiday safety tips every pet owner should remember.

1. Guard the Feast: Holiday meals are a smorgasbord of rich and flavorful dishes, but not all are suitable for our furry friends. For instance, chocolate, especially dark variants, contains theobromine, which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Raisins and grapes, sometimes found in holiday desserts, can cause kidney failure in dogs. Onions and garlic, often used as flavor enhancers, can be harmful too, leading to anemia in pets. Even those succulent turkey or ham leftovers, while tempting to share, can be problematic due to their fat content, potentially causing pancreatitis. Thus, as you indulge in your festive feast, create a secured dining area and monitor any food that falls on the floor, ensuring your pets don’t sneak a dangerous treat.

2. Decor with Care: Decorations can be intriguing for our curious companions. Ensure that ornaments are placed higher up, away from wagging tails and pouncing paws. Especially avoid tinsel, as it can be enticing for cats and can cause severe intestinal harm if swallowed.

3. Candle Caution: The soft glow of candles can create a warm atmosphere, but they’re also a fire hazard. Always monitor open flames, and keep them out of your pet’s reach.

4. Plant Precautions: The holiday season sees an influx of vibrant plants adding cheer to households. However, some can be perilous to pets. Mistletoe, commonly hung for that fabled kiss, can cause gastrointestinal upset, cardiovascular problems, and even difficulty breathing if consumed by pets. Poinsettias, with their bright red leaves, are often misconceived as extremely toxic but can still cause mild irritation to the mouth and stomach if ingested. Another seasonal favorite, the amaryllis, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in pets. As a pet owner, you don’t necessarily have to forgo these festive plants; simply place them in spots inaccessible to your pets or choose pet-friendly alternatives.

5. Festive Noise Levels: For some pets, the sudden uproar of holiday music and cheering can be overwhelming. Designate a quiet space in your home where your pet can retreat if the noise becomes too much.

6. Secure the Trash: Post-celebration, there’s often a bin full of waste. Bones, wrapping materials, and leftover food can be hazardous for pets. Ensure your trash can has a tight-fitting lid.

7. Update ID Tags: With the bustling nature of the holiday season, there’s an increased risk of pets sneaking out, either due to increased foot traffic at your door or the sheer curiosity of the outdoors. An up-to-date ID tag is crucial. The tag should clearly display the pet’s name, your phone number, and any relevant medical information. Also, if you haven’t already, consider getting your pet microchipped. This tiny device implanted under your pet’s skin can be scanned by veterinarians or shelters, providing them with your contact details. By ensuring your pet’s ID tag is current and considering microchipping, you’re increasing the chances of a happy reunion should they venture out.

8. Beware of Holiday Plants: Certain seasonal plants, such as holly and amaryllis, can be toxic to pets. It’s advisable to research any new plants before introducing them to your home.

9. Clear the Floor: Small toys, batteries, and even certain types of candy wrappers can be choking hazards. Ensure to clear the floor post unwrapping to prevent any mishaps.

10. Schedule a Check-Up: Holidays can also be a good time to ensure your pet is in top shape. Schedule a visit with Dr. Arshdeep Mann at Happy Tails Animal Hospital to ensure they’re ready for the festivities.

Your Pet’s Safety, Our Priority!

At Happy Tails Animal Hospital in Renton, WA, we understand the importance of keeping your pets safe during the holiday season. If you’re ever in doubt or need professional advice, don’t hesitate to reach out. Dr. Arshdeep Mann and our dedicated team are always here to assist you. Give us a call today at (425) 254-2779. After all, a safe pet is a happy pet!


  1. American Veterinary Medical Association. “Holiday Pet Safety.”
  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Seasonal Safety Tips.”
  3. Pet Poison Helpline. “Holiday Toxins for Pets.”
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