Safely Decking The Halls For Your Dog This Holiday Season

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Make this a happier holiday season with tips that will keep your pets safe

The holidays are a happy, joyful time. There’s so much going on and so much to do to get ready for this festive season. As you’re preparing your home for the holidays, you should also make sure that it’s safe for your dog.

To keep this time of year jolly for you and your pets, we’ve put together a few holiday safety tips to ensure you have plenty to celebrate.

  1. What’s on the holiday menu? Put on your loose pants – it’s time to chow down! Your table will be overflowing with tasty goodies and your dog will look at you with those puppy dog eyes, trying to score a bite or two. Turkey bones, alcohol, gravy, chocolate, onions and candy can cause serious health issues with your dog, causing illness or death. Instead, make your dog some holiday treats of his very own, that way he can partake in the festive om nom noms.
  2. Deck the halls with non-toxic plants: Some of the most common holiday plants that are poisonous are holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and some types of lilies. If your dog eats them, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, organ failure and death. To be safe, go with the plastic versions of these plants and keep them high enough so they are out of your dog’s reach.
  3. O Christmas Tree: You look so beautiful, even to our dogs! Tinsel and angel hair can cause a lot of problems if eaten by pets… you’ve heard the horror stories of it coming out the other end or causing blockages that require surgery. Christmas lights can be attractive to pets, especially when they are inquisitive. Pets can be burned or chew on the wires – what a shock! While you’re at it, avoid glass ornaments or place them high on the tree. If your dog starts playing with one, it could fall and break, which could lead to cuts in the mouth, esophagus and paw pads. And if your tree is too enticing for your dog, he may knock it over. Tie it to the walls or ceiling to keep in firmly in place.
  4. Party Time: One of the best parts of the holidays is gathering with friends and family. If you’re hosting a party at your house, your dog could get riled up with excitement. This can lead to jumping up on people, nipping and biting. Introduce your dog to guests calmly, and hold your dog’s collar while he sniffs people’s hands. Be sure to instruct adults and kids alike not to feed your dog anything, as it may cause him to get sick. And your door is going to be opening and closing all night long. This can lead to a dog escaping or being left out in the cold. Be sure that guests know about a possible flight risk and keep him secured during high traffic times.
  5. Away in a manger… or his own safe place: While all the festivities are taking place, your dog will need a place to escape for a little R & R. The noise and excitement can be too much for pets. This area should be far enough away from where the action is taking place and should have a comfy place to sleep and some favorite toys to snuggle up with.
  6. Wrap it up: Oscar loves tearing open his presents on Christmas morning. But I make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. A couple good rips and I take it away from him and turn his attention to his new toy. As well, I leave the ribbons off of all of the gifts I wrap. That ribbon sure does look tasty (according to Oscar) and he’ll eat it. If eaten, these ribbons can cause an intestinal obstruction or damage to the intestines. Keep the wrapping simple and keep your pets safe.

Do you have any other safety tips you’d like to add to this list? Feel free to leave your tips and suggestions in the comment section below.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

More by Amy Tokic