Safe, Happy Holidays for Our Pets

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – three major holidays that generate much excitement, hustle and bustle, and good times with friends and family. 

But what about the furry members of our households?  They don’t understand what’s happening.  Their routine has changed, their world has turned upside down.

Trick or treating on Halloween is so much fun for the kids, but frightening for Fang, in spite of his name.  Thanksgiving is all about sharing food with loved ones, just don’t slip any under the table to begging Buster.  And Christmas!  Oh, the flickering candles, the strings of lights, the trees with their shiny, dangling ornaments.  Bad news for Boots!

All the activity, noise, lights, decorations, strange people coming to the front door and into their homes can trigger high levels of anxiety or fear in animals that can lead to bad behavior, illness or injuries.  The same can apply to pets who are isolated from family activities or are taken to a boarding kennel. 

When planning any activities around the holidays, we must think of our pets, not only to ensure they can maintain a level of familiarity and calmness, but that they remain safe at all times.  No one wants an emergency trip to the vet clinic at any time, but on holidays, veterinary resources may be limited.

It’s wise to have the phone numbers of your regular vet and the closest 24-hour emergency vet in your phone’s contacts as well as posted in a visible place in your house in the event there should be a medical emergency – a time when you’ll be upset and rushing to get help for your pet.  If you’re traveling with pets, plan ahead to have the phone numbers and addresses of vet clinics along the way and where you’ll be staying.

Pets always should wear a collar with a tag containing your contact information.  However, collars can be removed and can break.  

Microchips are permanent, as well as required by more and more municipalities.  It’s important to be sure the chip is registered to someone in your family and the person’s contact information on file with the chip company is current. Also, if your pet should go astray, be prepared to prove to the finder or animal control shelter that he/she is your family member by showing photos, license registration and other papers. 

So, whether Max and Lucy will be home for the holidays or going along on a road trip to Grandma’s house, or spending time at a pet hotel, there are several websites with valuable safety tips to remind us of what we pet parents should and shouldn’t do, not only over the holidays, but always.

Three good sites are:

  • (American Veterinary Medical Association)
  • (petMD, LLC)
  • (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Enter the holiday in the search window to find tips, other information, and related articles.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Jean Clement for Foster Army Animal Rescue‘s newsletter, “The Wet Nose News.”