Holiday Entertaining and Pet Safety

By Stephanie Konczarek

Entertaining during the holiday season is about creating wonderful memories—not to mention, having a great time with your nearest and dearest. Holiday parties can also bring a lot of temptations for your pets. This is a busy time and can be quite hectic with the planning, prepping and having visitors and guests coming and going.

Here are a few tips that can help prevent a holiday mishap and keep your pets safe during the busy holiday season.

Food & Drink

It’s natural to want to share during holiday feasts, and because it’s hard to resist those puppy dog stares and kitty antics, we may give in and offer “just a morsel” to our pets. Giving in to those puppy dog eyes and giving them human food can actually harm your pet. Keep your pet away from the kitchen while prepping your meals. Make sure to take extra precaution while preparing food. A distraction can give your pet a chance to get something off the counter that can cause gastrointestinal issues or worse. And pet proof your garbage cans to prevent your pet from eating any harmful scraps.


Here is a list of some food and drink that can harm your pets:

Cooked bones They can splinter and cause major damage to any part of the digestive system.

Chocolate – contains a number of chemicals that are toxic and can cause anything from vomiting to toxicity of the heart or nervous system.

Fat trimmings – can cause pancreatitis.

Grapes, raisins & currants – Contain an unknown toxin that can severely damage kidneys.

Macadamia nuts – Contain an unknown toxin that can cause damage to the digestive muscles and the nervous system.

Milk and other dairy products – too much can cause diarrhea and other stomach problems.

Onions and garlic – Contain sulfides and disulfides. Even onion and garlic powder can pose a risk.

Artificial sweeteners and Sugar Substitute Xylitol – can cause low blood sugar or even liver failure in dogs.

All candies should be avoided – Too much fat, sugar, nuts, and other unknown ingredients that could harm your pet.

Alcohol – keep any alcoholic beverages away from cats and dogs. Any amount is toxic to pets.

Guests and Your Pet

Let your guests know before the party that you have pets. If you have an anxious cat or dog, or a pet that isn’t comfortable around new people or children, make sure they have a safe space to go to where they can be calm and relaxed. Have their pet bed, a crate or their favourite blanket in a room away from the hustle and bustle. Supply them with water and toys to keep them occupied. Put a note on the door alerting guests to the pets’ presence and asking them to respect their privacy.

Party Pet Safety

With party-goers coming and going, your dog or cat can get outside. Remind your guests there is a pet in the house. New Year’s Eve fireworks and noise makers can have a negative affect on your pets. If your pet is excitable or scared, consider putting them in another room away from the activity. Inform your guests not to feed your pet and keep an eye on food and drink spills. Keep in mind the size of your pet and activity level when setting out food and drinks. Have your vet’s contact info handy along with the closest emergency pet clinic and poison control phone number.

Wishing you and your furry friends a happy and healthy holiday season.

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