The holidays can be a tough time to be a pet, and a pet owner. With out of town house guests and holiday parties galore, routines are thrown off, chaos reigns, and there are more opportunities than ever for Fido or Fluffy to get into what they shouldn’t. Here are some resources and top tips for helping your pets through the holidays:

  • Some pets are easily stressed by changes to their environment. If you have one of these pets, ease them gently into the appearance of your Christmas tree and other seasonal decor. Some recommend leaving the tree and other big holiday items undecorated for a few days until pets are used to it and less curious or inclined to explore the newcomer.
  • Anchor your Christmas tree to the wall with an eye bolt and fishing line or twine. This will prevent playful puppies and climbing cats from toppling over your tree.
  • Be sure to cover electrical cords with tape, pipe, or the rug to prevent chewing
  • Put glass, fragile, or keepsake ornaments towards the top of the tree to protect them
  • Avoid tinsel entirely if you have cats– it will be too tempting for them and it is dangerous when swallowed, much like hair elastics, twist ties, and other everyday items you are used to putting out of reach.
  • When guests come to visit, be sure their room can be secured and that pets won’t be able to sneak in to disrupt your guests’ things. Guests who aren’t used to pets in general, or your pet’s unique quirks, may forget about Christmas candies in their suitcases, leave tempting chewable shoes on the ground, or otherwise forget to pet-proof their belongings as you are used to doing.
  • Don’t forget to put tempting-smelling gifts out of reach around the tree, or to not set them out until just before gifts are opened.
  • Poinsettias are poisonous to both dogs and cats, so if you must include them in your decor, keep them well out of reach
  • Holiday parties and gifts alike give pets ample opportunity to nab foods they shouldn’t. The ASPCA has a list of toxic foods pets should never eat.

Finally, for more information on what is poisonous to pets, the ASPCA has this adorable spoof of Call Me Maybe to help you remember.