You have baked the Christmas cookies and hung the stockings by the chimney with care, but have you taken precautions to protect your pet? A trip to the veterinary emergency hospital can spoil your holiday cheer. Our Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team wants to help by offering tips to keep your pet safe during the 12 days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, protect your pet from the partridge on the table

The turkey is usually the star of any holiday feast, but the big bird can be dangerous for your pet. Consider the following issues:

  • Brine — The turkey brine is high in salt and can cause salt toxicity if your pet drinks too much.
  • Skin — Turkey skin is high in fat, and any fatty food can trigger pancreatitis, which is a painful and potentially life-threatening condition in pets. 
  • Bones — Cooked turkey bones are brittle and may splinter and injure your pet’s mouth or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 
  • Twine — The baker’s twine that trusses the turkey may tempt your pet, but if swallowed, the string can cause a linear GI obstruction that can result in intestinal perforation.

On the second day of Christmas, protect your pet from the chocolate turtle doves

Several popular holiday dessert table offerings, such as chocolate, sugar-free treats containing xylitol, and macadamia nuts, are toxic to pets. Provide pet-friendly treats so your pet doesn’t raid the sweets table.

On the third day of Christmas, protect your pet from the French onion soup

People often get more excited about the holiday sides than the entree, but common ingredients in these dishes, including onions, garlic, leeks, grapes, and raisins, are toxic to pets, and cause issues such as vomiting, anemia, and kidney failure. 

On the fourth day of Christmas, protect your pet from the Christmas tree’s calling birds

Christmas trees are exciting for pets, and most will investigate the new addition to their environment. Protect your pet from a Christmas tree mishap with these tips:

  • Secure the tree — Secure your Christmas tree in a high-quality stand and anchor the tree from the ceiling or an adjacent wall.
  • Avoid water additives — Pets enjoy new water sources, and they may drink from the water that hydrates the tree, so ensure the water contains no additives that could harm your pet. 

On the fifth day of Christmas, protect your pet from the golden rings

Decorations make your home festive and put you in the holiday spirit, but some items are dangerous to pets, including:

  • Ornaments — Breakable ornaments can shatter and injure your pet if they investigate.
  • Tinsel — Cats frequently find tinsel enthralling, but ingestion can cause a GI linear obstruction. 
  • Lights — Christmas lights are beautiful, but ensure your pet can’t access the electrical cords to prevent a shocking incident.

On the sixth day of Christmas, protect your pet from migrating geese a-laying

During the holiday season, pets are safer kept inside, away from pesky geese and other dangers such as traffic and getting lost. Ensure guests know your pet isn’t allowed outside, and consider keeping your pet in an interior room if they are inclined to escape.

On the seventh day of Christmas, protect your pet from swanning about

If your pet does escape, proper identification will increase their chances of being returned home. Ensure your pet is microchipped and that they are wearing a snug fitting collar and identification tags with your current contact information at all times.

On the eighth day of Christmas, protect your pet from maids’ and mens’ belongings

Secure your guests’ belongings so your pet can’t access potentially dangerous items such as sugar-free mints, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.

On the ninth day of Christmas, protect your pet from ladies dancing

Many pets are stressed or frightened by crowds, so ensure your pet can escape to a safe area if they become overwhelmed by your holiday gathering.

On the 10th day of Christmas, protect your pet from land-roving lords

If you’re traveling by car, ensure your pet is safely secured in the vehicle. Small pets should be placed in a carrier on the vehicle floor, and larger pets should be secured with a safety harness. 

On the 11th day of Christmas, protect your pet from piper airway travel

If you’re traveling by air, ensure your pet can accompany you in the cabin, since traveling in the cargo area isn’t safe for pets.

On the 12th day of Christmas, protect your pet from drumming noises

Many pets have a fireworks-associated noise phobia. If your pet exhibits anxiety or fear during fireworks displays, use techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning in the weeks before the holidays to modify your pet’s behavior. If this training doesn’t help, contact your veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety medications or supplements can benefit your pet.

Following these tips will help prevent a veterinary emergency during the holiday season. However, should your pet need emergency or urgent care during your celebrations, contact our Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team, and we will ensure they get the attention they need.