Pet Tips

Winter Holiday Pet Safety Tips

December 16, 2020

What, if any, winter holidays does your family celebrate?  For many, the winter holiday season can be such a fun, joyful time.  The name of the game in 2020 seems to be trying to find ways to be merry despite the difficult year we’ve all shared.  Being quarantined has, perhaps, given many a new appreciation for their pets.  Nothing raises the spirits quite like a snugly, or playful, fuzzy friend.  Some animals enjoy the excitement and extra attention around the holidays, while others may prefer if things remained calmer. It’s important to remember that it’s not just humans who can get stressed around the holidays, and some of our favorite holiday traditions may present dangers to our pets. Keep these tips in mind to make sure all members of your family have happy and safe holidays this year.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  If you purchase an item using our link, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Please see our Disclaimer page for more information.
Holiday Pet Safety Tips

  1. Provide your pet with plenty of fresh water.  With all the excitement of celebrating with you, your pet is likely to work up a thirst.  Always make sure to provide your pet with clean, fresh water.
  2. Don’t overfeed your pet!  Tasty foods are a part of many holiday celebrations, but overfeeding you pet can cause upset stomachs, vomiting, and diarrhea.  In addition, feeding large amounts of fatty foods can be dangerous to pets.  For example, pancreatitis is a painful and potentially dangerous condition that can be caused by a diet too high in fats. While a small amount of table scraps may be okay to offer your pet, don’t overdo it.  If you’re celebrating with guests, advise them not to feed your pet, and always avoid foods high in fat, sweets, and cooked bones.
  3. Learn what holiday items may be toxic to pets! It’s important to learn what foods or holiday items (such as plants) are safe for pets, and which aren’t. You don’t want to accidentally expose your pet something that could be dangerous to him/her. What to avoid will depend on what species your pet is, so make sure you do your research and learn what to avoid!
  4. Keep an eye on your decorations! For a playful pet, holiday decorations may be confused as fun new toys. But decorations can be dangerous to your pet. They may be a chocking hazard, or cause impaction if your pet inadvertently swallows them. Some decorations such as glass lights or ornaments could potentially cause injury. Decorating is festive and fun, but keep it safe as well by making sure all decorations are out of your pets reach.
  5. Make sure to secure your garbage can!  With things like present wrapping, and food scraps being thrown out, your trash can is likely to be very tempting to your pet. Make sure your can is secured and pet proof.
  6. If you serve alcohol, keep it away from your pets. To most people, keeping food out of their pets reach is common sense. But it’s important to keep an eye on your drinks as well, especially if your drinking something potentially dangerous to pets such as alcohol.
  7. Minimize stress for your pet. The holidays can be stressful for humans and animals alike. Minimizing your pets stress level will go a long way towards making sure your pet is comfortable throughout the holiday season. Maintain your pets regular schedule as closely as possible. Give your pet a ‘safe zone’; a place where they can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday excitement if they need some time to relax.
  8. Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag! If your pet is a cat or dog, or other uncaged pet, make sure they are wearing their collar and ID tags, and/or that they are microchipped.  Especially if you have guests going in and out frequently, your pet may decide to take advantage of an open door. Make sure to tell guests to be careful around the doors, and keep a careful eye on your pet so he/she doesn’t attempt to make an escape.
  9. If you are traveling with your pet, plan in advance! Traveling can be stressful, and you don’t need the added stress of having to prepare for traveling with your pet last minute. Make all travel arrangements and pack for you pet ahead of time to reduce stress on the day you are going to travel. If you are planning to bring your pet to another person’s house to celebrate, make sure they are aware you will have your pet with you and that they remove any potentially dangerous items from areas where your pet can reach. If you are planning on staying in a hotel, plan ahead! Not all hotels accept pets.  Some of them that do have restrictions or fees that you should be aware of.
  10. Maintain safety around guests! If you are expecting guests for the holidays, make sure they treat your pet with respect. Be extra careful around children who may not know how to handle your pet properly. Also inform all guests of your house rules regarding pets, including making sure they are aware of what holiday foods shouldn’t be given as treats.
  11. If it’s cold where you’re celebrating, make sure to follow cold weather safety recommendations for your pets!
  12. Be smart about pet gift giving! Some types of pets, especially dogs, have a great time opening their own presents! Make sure to supervise dogs around gifts. Ribbons, bows, and other present decorating items could be dangerous if ingested. Make sure the gifts you pick out for your pets are safe as well as fun!
  13. Don’t give animals as gifts. While giving gifts to your pet is fun, giving pets as gifts isn’t usually a good idea. Pet ownership is a commitment that someone should always enter into willingly and knowingly. If you’d like to buy someone a pet, it’s best to only do so if the receiver knows about and is ready for the new pet ahead of time. Instead of giving a live animal as a gift, a better alternative is to give them supplies for their future new pet. Supplies, gift certificates, and books are good gift ideas that can help a future pet owner become more prepared for their new addition.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

I know some of these tips don’t apply as much this year as they would other years.  Are hotels even open again yet?  I don’t think many people (anyone?) will be sad to see 2020 come to an end.

If you’re celebrating any winter holidays, what are some ways you incorporate your pet in your celebrations?  Our little pack celebrates Yule.  Kit and Fen especially love opening their Yule presents!  Kitsune‘s birthday is also on December 26th, so that’s always something we look forward to celebrating.

Just a heads up, we’ll be taking the week off from blogging next week.  I didn’t end up taking any time off from work.  I want to spend what free time I have with my family.  We’ll be back the week after, though, most likely with a post to celebrate Kit’s 12th birthday!  Until then, the Paw Pack sends all our readers warmest wishes for fun, safe, healthy holidays. <3

You Might Also Like


  • Reply GGof9 December 19, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for sharing…great tips and info for the holiday season with our beloved pets. We sometimes fail to realize they don’t understand all that’s going on with gifts, decorations and people everywhere.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      Thanks. I’ve been lucky that my dogs so enjoy joining in on our holiday celebrations, but I can see how for some pets it could be really stressful.

  • Reply Kamira G December 19, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    This is a great post. I really like that you mentioned the tip to “Don’t give pets as gifts” . So many people mean well however don’t think about the long term/gravity of caring for another being for a lifetime. The recipient may not be in a position to take on such a responsibility and then end up giving the pet to a shelter. You shared great tips for the holidays. Seasons Greetings!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you! I do think people would mean well giving a pet as a gift, but a lot of species are 10+ year commitments, some even more than that! IMO people should put a lot of thought into whether they’re ready to commit too another life for that long, rather than having it sprung on them unexpectedly. Seasons greetings to you as well!

  • Reply Jana Rade December 19, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Important reminders. We live a quiet life so most of these don’t apply for us. Of course, there is always turkey breast for the dog(s).

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 20, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂 I’m sure the dogs love the turkey!

  • Reply Britt K December 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    These are great tips! We celebrate Yule in our house. While there aren’t nearly as many decorations around our home as most homes, there is a HUGE focus on the meal as well as a bonfire. We really have to watch the food, preventing the pups from getting into anything that they shouldn’t – both due to foods that dogs shouldn’t have as well as keeping my girl Dav’s list of allergies in mind. Thanks for the reminders. I think we all need to hear it each year.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 20, 2020 at 7:36 pm

      So cool that you celebrate Yule too! We’re in a similar situation with Kitsune. He also has food allergies and is a huge foodie, so we have to be really careful about not leaving food where he can get to it.

  • Reply Ruth Epstein December 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Great tips and always good to remind everyone as it is important to keep your pets safe

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 20, 2020 at 7:34 pm

      For sure! Nothing puts a damper on celebrating a holiday quite like a trip to the emergency vet, lol. Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply Beth December 20, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for this great reminder! The holidays are a lot of fun, but they are potentially dangerous too. We had an incident a few years ago where our Puggle got into some M & M’s. My husband found the bag but didn’t think anything of it. Several hours later, our dog was vomiting and incredibly restless. Once my husband mentioned the M & M’s, I took my dog to the vet emergency room. Luckily, he survived, but it was extremely uncomfortable for him and super stressful for me.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 22, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      Aw that sounds so stressful! I’m glad that your dog was ok though. Why does it always feel like stuff like that happens either on weekends or holidays, whenever regular vets aren’t open?

  • Reply Sweet Purrfections December 20, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Great tips! We’re not doing anything special for the holidays this year except staying home and enjoying each other’s company

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack December 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      Sounds like the best kind of holiday celebration to me! Enjoy! 🙂

    Leave a Reply