Speaking of Pets: How to make sure your pets stay safe during the holidays | VailDaily.com

Speaking of Pets: How to make sure your pets stay safe during the holidays

By Joan Merriam
Speaking of Pets

This year our holidays will be different, thanks to COVID. No fancy parties, no big family get-togethers, no unexpected guests dropping by.

Regardless, chances are you’ll still be decorating the house, receiving gift boxes, and concocting all your family’s favorites holiday meals and goodies.

You can help make the holidays fun and safe for the furry members of your household by keeping in mind a few tips.

Pets can sense when their owners are anxious or stressed, so remember that part of taking care of your animal is taking care of yourself.


Like humans, pets can pack on holiday pounds if they indulge in too much food or too many treats. It’s tempting to offer them that leftover turkey skin or a glop of buttery mashed potatoes or some pumpkin pie, but these types of rich and fatty food can easily upset a pet’s digestive system.

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It’s okay to mix some bits of turkey — minus the skin — into their regular food, but don’t overdo it. And don’t overdo the pet treats, either.


While most dogs (cats, not so much) love playing in the snow, watch for signs of hypothermia; while a dog’s fur is an excellent insulator, once it’s wet, that advantage disappears. If you have a small or short-coated dog, invest in a warm jacket—and remember to limit outdoor time for very old or very young dogs.


Be vigilant when you open those shipping boxes for anything your pet could injure itself on, like a box-cutter, or ingest, like twine or bubble-wrap.

Don’t allow pets to play with light strings or tree decorations—either one can result in a frantic trip to the emergency vet.

Finally, you may be stressed-out during the holiday season, but take time to be with your pet: play with it, cuddle with it, and simply spend time with it. Pets can experience stress, too, and often pick up on the discomfort of their owners. Make your home as calm and peaceful as possible, and you’ll all enjoy the holidays.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.


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