The holidays can be tons of fun, but they can also bring stress and possible dangers especially to our dogs. While you should absolutely work to include your dogs in your holiday celebration, you should also take as many steps as possible to keep them safe and healthy. After all, you want them to start out the new year in good health, right?

Including my dogs as a part of our Christmas celebration is extremely important to me. After a few years of practice and experience with hosting family and friend gatherings, I’m happy to share what works for us. You can find our tips written below, but for more convenience I’ve also included a printable PDF.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | Foods to Avoid | Holiday Tips | Christmas Dog | Dog Mom | Poisonous Plants | #sponsored by Sleepypod

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Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe Around the Holidays

All the Food

Avoid Table Scraps
It’s okay to cook a special holiday meal for your dog, but don’t feed them scraps from the table. If you want to prep them something special be sure to only use holiday foods that are safe and hold off on the seasoning. Table scraps can bring the dangers of fatty foods, excess seasoning, onions, raisins, raw dough, and even bones. Keep your dog away from all of those things!

Skip the Sweets
Treat your dog to something special, but don’t make it a sweet treat! We don’t need the extra sugar, so your dog definitely doesn’t. Other ingredients that you may find in seasonal sweets and should be sure to avoid include Xylitol, Chocolate, Macadamia Nuts, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon.

Be Careful with Cocktails
Eat. Drink. Be Merry! Just keep any alcohol up and away from where your pets can get it. Not only is alcohol dangerous for your dog, but so are Xylitol and grapes (you know, what wine is made out of).

Create a Safe Place

Set up a safe place for your dog to retreat if they get overwhelmed. It can be an area of your house that won’t get a lot of traffic or even in a room with a door that can close. Set it up with things that will make them feel more comfortable and relaxed. You can find some ideas below.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | Foods to Avoid | Holiday Tips | Christmas Dog | Dog Mom | Poisonous Plants | #sponsored by Sleepypod

Comfy Bed – Somewhere soft where your pup can lay and snooze away while you enjoy your company. Any bed your dog loves will do! We try to keep one in each room, so we don’t have to move them around.

Familiar Blanket – Something else to snuggle. The familiarity will help manage anxiety and stress. BONUS if it smells a bit like you. We are currently loving the Cloudpuff Blankets from Sleepypod.

Favorite Toys – To keep your dog entertained when they are away from all the excitement. Put in a few different options – soft, ball, and even a chew that is safe to use when they are unattended.

Plenty of Water – Temperatures tend to rise when there are tons of people in a small space. That may make your dog extra thirsty. Any anxiety may also play a part. Make sure your dog’s water bowl is checked and refilled regularly. I also recommend keeping more than one, so they have options should one run out or be inaccessible. Keep in mind that more dogs means you have to refill the water more often (or have more bowls). I like using the Yummy Travel Bowls because they won’t break if they are bumped and help reduce spilling. It’s a great option for adding water to rooms that wouldn’t normally have a bowl.

Pick Up The Trash – If you have a food hound like me, be sure to pick up you trash in your dog’s safe space and throughout your home. You don’t want your dog to get into it and get their paws on some of those no-no food items from above when you aren’t looking.

Also, don’t forget to schedule regular play and bathroom breaks. It will give you both a break from all the commotion and allow you to avoid having to clean up any unwanted accidents. If you have family over for an extended period, be sure to stick to your dog’s routine as much as possible. The consistency will help reduce stress and anxiety.

Follow House Rules

If you’re the host, then it’s your house, so you get to set the rules! Be sure to notify all your guests that dogs will be present early and often (people tend to forget).

When guests arrive show them a designated treat bowl they can use to treat the dogs. This will help reduce on table scraps that could be dangerous to your dog and helps you control how much your dog is actually getting to eat.

Keep all exterior doors closed. You don’t want your dog to make a run for it if they get spooked by all the commotion. Also, remind your guests to be careful and aware when they are going in and out. Just in case, make sure your dogs are wearing their collar and ID tag with up to date contact information.

Holiday Decor Difficulties

Don’t Leave Gifts Unattended
I’ll never forget the time I had to leave work in the middle of the day because I saw Luna eating Christmas (that’s what I told my boss) on my doggy cam. I foolishly left wrapped presents under the tree because I knew the didn’t contain food and thought they would be safe. I thought wrong as I witnessed video of Luna tearing into and eating all the gifts I had purchased for my family. Luckily she didn’t eat anything other than wrapping paper and a bit of packaging, so the gifts were safe and so was she.

BUT that could have gone a completely different way, so lesson learned! If you have pets, just keep your presents up and away until Christmas. Don’t put them under the tree if especially if they contain any kind of food, but even if they are wrapped and non-food.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | Foods to Avoid | Holiday Tips | Christmas Dog | Dog Mom | Poisonous Plants | #sponsored by Sleepypod | Depositphotos | @AndrewLozovyi

NOT Luna, but you get the point – Depositphotos | @AndrewLozovyi

Pet Proof Your Christmas Tree
Make sure your tree is securely anchored, so that if your dog (or cat) gets curious the whole thing won’t fall over.

Place your ornaments up high, especially anything made out of food (if you don’t have at least one macaroni ornament, let me know and I’ll make you one) or anything that is super sentimental or valuable. I also like putting bell ornaments lower down because they are normally made out of metal and act as a bit of an alarm if Ralph or Luna get too close and too curious.

Blow Out Candles
Having lit candles around Christmastime is completely normal and can even be apart of the celebration. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, candles definitely play a big part! No matter what you celebrate, don’t leave your candles lit unattended for fire safety ESPECIALLY if you have pets.

Avoid Poisonous Plants
Christmas plants can be beautiful, but many of the most popular ones can actually be SUPER dangerous and even deadly for dogs and cats. Mistletoe, Holly, Poinsettias, Amaryllis, and Peace Lilies (all Lilies really) are some of the more common ones. If you have cats, I’d recommend avoiding these plants altogether. Cats can get anywhere, so it’s not worth the risk. If you have dogs avoiding these plants is always best practice, but they are also less likely to get up on counters or other high places. I usually get one small Poinsettia, but it stays up on the counter completely out of reach.

Clean Up All Wrapping Paper
After opening gifts, it’s time to clean up! Make sure there’s nothing left behind that could be harmful to your dog. They could try to eat the paper or get tangled up in ribbon or tape. Also, make sure to double check that all the gifts are put away. You don’t want your pup to get into a box of Christmas chocolates or eat your brand new electronic (Don’t believe me? You can talk to Luna about that one time she ate a Kindle…)

Be Ready for Fireworks
Depending on where you live, you may have fireworks on Christmas as well as New Year’s. I was surprised when I spent last Christmas in Los Angeles at HOW LONG and HOW MANY fireworks were sent off on Christmas Eve and Christmas. If you’re traveling somewhere new or you know you leave in a fireworks loving area, be ready with calming aids (Thundershirt, CBD, etc.). Also make sure to keep your doors closed and ID tags on your dog just in case.

Infographic + Printable

And now’s the time for you to get your own copy of our holiday safety tips. You can find the printable PDF below.

Want to print out our safety tips? Click the link below!
Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | Foods to Avoid | Holiday Tips | Dog Mom | Poisonous Plants | #sponsored by Sleepypod

If you are planning a holiday road trip, then be sure to also check out our Ultimate Road Trip Guide.

What are your holiday plans with your pets?

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Holiday Safety Tips for Pets | Foods to Avoid | Holiday Tips | Christmas Dog | Dog Mom | Poisonous Plants | #sponsored by Sleepypod

Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about Sleepypod. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.

Jessica Shipman
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