Remember Your Pet’s Safety this Holiday Season

We hope that you and your family have a peaceful holiday season! To keep your pet safe and out of trouble, review the following tips—you never know when you might need them.

Cold Weather Hazards

Winter weather can be harsh here in the Midwest, especially in the Windy City! Keep your pet indoors with you as much as possible, and never leave them tethered outside by themselves. They need shelter and warmth just like you do!

Additional tips:

  • Consider investing in a jacket and protective booties for your pet when you take them on walks. Dogs with shorter or finer coats are more vulnerable to the cold and can get frostbite on their ears, nose, and paws. To protect their paws, try getting them used to wearing booties. These not only protect the paw pads from ice, but de-icing salt, as well. This salt can burn the paw pads, which can in turn burn your pet’s mouth if they lick their paws.
  • If you park your car outside overnight, make sure to check under the hood the very next morning before you head out to work. Stray/outdoor cats sometimes curl up next to car engines to keep warm.
  • Be careful about how you use antifreeze. The strong sweet smell of antifreeze can be enticing to animals, but ingesting it can cause serious illness or even death. Clean up antifreeze spills and make sure your containers are tightly sealed and placed out of our pet’s reach.

Food Dangers

There are a variety of foods that should be off-limits to your pet when it comes time to celebrate the holidays:

  • Chocolate in any form
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants
  • Garlic, chives, onions, leeks, and shallots
  • Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans
  • Meat bones
  • Uncooked bread dough with yeast
  • Butter, grease, and fat
  • Caffeine, beer, wine, and liquor
  • Candy, gum, and baked treats that are likely to contain xylitol, a sweetener

Let all of your guests know that these foods can be harmful to your pet if ingested. We also suggest keeping table scrap handouts to a minimum. Foods that are safe for your pet include plain, unseasoned boneless meat, green beans (no butter), some carrots, and plain sweet potato.

Decoration Reminders

  • Keep your tree securely anchored in a sturdy tree stand so it can’t be easily knocked over.
  • Avoid using fragile glass ornaments, or tie them to the upper branches of the tree where your pet can’t reach them.
  • Discourage your pet from going near the tree water, which may contain pine needles, tree sap, and tree preservatives, which are toxic to animals.
  • Forego decorating with tinsel, tinsel garland, flocking, and ribbon, which can easily cause choking in pets.
  • Strands of lights should be wrapped securely around your tree without loose, dangly loops hanging around the bottom. Cover electrical cords on the floor with protective plastic covering or spray the cord with an anti-chewing substance to deter your pet.