Keep pets safe and preoccupied this holiday season

(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

The holiday season can be a hectic time with families rushing to get last-minute gifts, preparing for extended-stay guests and making sure every decoration is perfectly placed around the home. With visions of a Norman Rockwell painting setting the cozy holiday scene, the reality of the season can be anything but. To help ensure holiday festivities go off without a hitch, consider these tips to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe this season.

Food: Whether it’s decorations or food, your pets will most likely be curious and ingest things that can be harmful or not healthy for them. Chocolate candies and nuts such as macadamia and walnuts can be toxic for your pet. Have healthy treats on hand for your dog. They will find them just as delicious as table food.

Decorating the home: All the holiday decorations look like a whole new world and can be quite dangerous for your pet to explore. Ribbons, tinsel, bright lights and ornaments can transform your four-legged pal into a kid in a candy store. Ornaments can look like shiny, round tennis balls and can be very enticing for a dog, so be sure that ornaments on the lower branches are safe in case they are snatched! When wrapping lights around a Christmas tree, keep the strands away from the very bottom to prevent cats or dogs from chewing on the electrical cords, which can cause electrical shock. Pets can easily be intrigued by an open flame, whether it’s candles, a menorah or even a fireplace, so make sure the flames are in an area pets cannot get to.

Holiday guests and visitors: ‘Tis the season for the doorbell constantly ringing with new holiday packages and guests coming over for holiday parties. If your pets are easily excited or anxious, your guests may feel anxious around them. Create a safe haven or retreat to allow your pet to take a break from the stress of your guests and crowds. Petmate’s Translucent Vari Kennel or Ultra Vari Kennels are great options for pets to feel comfortable, safe and secure around the holidays.

Keep them preoccupied: Keep stress levels down by keeping your pet preoccupied with fun toys. The JW Hol-ee Bone is an interactive or solo play toy that will keep dogs engaged, thus minimizing potential for disasters around the home.

For more information on how to care for your pet throughout the holidays, or for the perfect holiday pet gift, visit


(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit Or, visit their Facebook page at Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)

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