Princeton Happenings

Tips on How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

The Holidays are a wonderful time of year. We spend time traveling, visiting with family and friends. It’s the time of year to make our dogs wear silly Santa hats, antlers and bows. While our four legged family members should be included in all of the festivities, there are a few things to be aware of so that the holidays are fun and safe for everyone.

Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe during the holidays.

Food safety:

• Don’t give your dog scraps from the table or holiday buffet. Cookies and pies, macaroni salads and stuffing,
potato chips and fancy hors d’oeuvres, are inappropriate foods for dogs and may make them sick. Alcohol
and chocolate are toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Keep unhealthy, sweet treats and seasonal
goodies out of reach. Keep an eye on the holiday table and secure leftovers and garbage to
prevent your dog from foraging among the holiday foods. Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are also
poisonous to dogs.


• If you host a party, remember that some guests may be uncomfortable around dogs. Your dog may, in turn,
be uncomfortable or frightened around a large group of unfamiliar people. You may want to confine him in a
crate or a room that will not be used by guests. Otherwise, keep him by your side, or with another family
member, to keep him from getting into trouble or underfoot.Remind guests not to feed your dog anything
from the table.

• If traveling, remember to bring his bed and favorite toys. Remember to give your dog plenty of exercise.
Don’t leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual
temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog’s body temperature, and limit its time outdoors. Remember
that dogs still need plenty of fresh water available even during winter time.


• Both live and artificial tree needles are sharp and indigestible. Keep your tree blocked off (with a playpen or
other “fence”) or in a room that is not accessible to your dog. Tinsel can be dangerous for dogs, it may
obstruct circulation and, if swallowed, block the intestines.

Do not put lights on the lower branches of your tree as they may get very hot and burn your dog.

• Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and get badly shocked or electrocuted so place
them out of reach. Avoid lass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth. Do not
use edible ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings.

Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to reach them. Keep other ornaments off the lower
branches; if your dog chews or eats an ornament, he can be made sick by the materials or paint. It is
safest to never leave your dog unattended in the room with tree.

ASPAC Poison Control Center:

• If you think that your pet has consumed something poisonous or dangerous don’t wait to call your vet or
local animal hospital. If you have general questions contact the ASPCA Poison control center at
888-426-4435 or visit