Animal Resource Library » Health & Safety » Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving and other holiday festivities create special dangers for your pets. Remember these tips to help keep them safe during the holidays.


  • Increased activity and visitors at home during the holidays can upset your pets’ routines. Try to keep them on their regular schedule for feeding and exercise.
  • Give your pets plenty of love and attention during the holidays so they don’t feel left out.
  • Be absolutely certain that pets have CURRENT ID tags on at all times. This is important throughout the entire year, but especially during the holidays because there’s a greater risk of your pet escaping due to increased visitors.
  • If you are having several guests over, put your pets in a separate room with some toys and a soft place to lie down. Soft music playing, especially classical, also helps them to relax. Pets that have their own room will feel safer, less stressed and won’t be able to accidentally escape out the front door.


  • Never give your pets leftover bones from meals you are making! Cooked bones splinter and can be fatal to pets!
  • Do not give your pets alcoholic beverages, chocolate, or table scraps.
  • If you are serving turkey, make sure you tie up the carcass in a plastic bag and throw it in the outside dumpster. Put a heavy item on the dumpster so that stray animals cannot get into it and become sick. Vegetarian turkeys, made from soy, eliminate the possibility of your pet ingesting a bone.
  • Remember to caution others (both kids and adults) not to give your pets anything except their normal treats. Guests may not always be aware of dangers that seem very basic to you.


  • Ham and other meats may come packaged with string wrapped around them. When you remove the string, tie it up in a plastic bag and dispose of it outside in the trash can immediately. Pets may swallow the tasty packaging, which can be disastrous.
  • Be careful of candles as pets can tip them over. Even if the candle does not get tipped over, curious cats can get burned by the flame.
  • Holiday plants such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and hibiscus are toxic to pets so keep them out of their reach.
  • Never put ribbon or yarn around your pet’s neck! If ingested, both can easily become wound around organs.
  • Do not allow your pets to play with items not specifically made for dogs, such as plastic or foil wrapping, and six-pack beverage holders.
  • Don’t use the colored crystals that you burn in the fireplace because both dogs and cats like to play with and eat them and they are toxic.

Hopefully these safety tips will allow you to enjoy a safe holiday at home rather than at an animal emergency clinic!

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.