Keeping the holidays happy for pets

Tis the season to be celebrating the holidays with family and friends! To ensure that celebrations are relaxing and enjoyable, preparation is key. Before the festivities begin, have a plan in place that includes the safety of your four-legged family members. As we all know, pets are a huge part of our families and we want them to enjoy the holidays just as much as everybody else (if not more). Nothing squashes holiday merriment like an emergency veterinarian visit.

Below are a few recommendations for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season for you and your pets:


Festive décor

Decorations can add holiday cheer to homes, but keep in mind that glass ornaments‎, tinsel, tree lights, wires, batteries (and even the water for your Christmas tree) can be dangerous to your pets. Consider their safety and interest level, when decorating.


Flowers and plants

Although poinsettias, holly and mistletoe are festive and beautiful, sadly they can also cause serious health issues and even fatalities in pets. Whether purchasing for yourself or as a gift, before you buy anything, speak with your florist or nursery about pet-safe flowers and plants. Maybe try silk holiday arrangements that are just as festive as the real thing and they have the advantage of being long-lasting and cost effective.


Holiday food

Healthy pet food and yummy treats like green beans, carrots and apple slices are‎ great choices to have available for your furkids during holiday celebrations. Human food, including fatty meats, bones, onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate and anything made with xylitol (which can be in candy, gum and baked goods) can be lethal for your pets.



Pets love toys! Be sure that your pets’ toys are safe and durable enough for serious chewers. They shouldn’t be too hard that they can damage their teeth or too soft and poorly constructed that the stuffing can get scattered everywhere – even in your pet’s tummy. Check for size. If the toy is too small your pet may choke on it. If the toy is too large they can’t physically play with them. Please be extra careful when making toy selections for your furkids to ensure they are fun and safe.


As a precaution keep your veterinarian’s contact information on-hand to consult with them regarding your pets’ health during emergencies or if you have any concerns.

Keep in mind that it is never recommended to give a pet as a gift. Though it seems like a thoughtful gesture, it is important to remember that a ‎pet is a special member of the family. The adoption process should include the pet-parent, who will be sharing a lifetime of unconditional love with their new furever friend. A great gift idea is to make a personal “gift certificate” and arrange for an adoption day for you and the potential pet-parent to visit a shelter or rescue together.

For your holiday gift giving please consider “paying it forward” to homeless pets by adopting, fostering, volunteering and/or making a donation to your favorite shelter or animal rescue group in someone’s name. There is no need to worry about size or colors, as a donation is a one-size-fits-all gift! If you are unsure where you can donate, search online to find a shelter or rescue organization near you.


About Susan Marie

     For more than 15 years, Susan Marie has been spreading the word about puppy love through her national weekly radio show, The Doggy Diva Show. Susan is also the author of the award-winning Miss Olive children’s book trilogy “The Doggy Diva Diaries.” Learn more by visiting