Holiday With Pets: Keep Them Safe and Calm

Jan 1, 2023 | Personal Insurance

Holiday With Pets

The holidays are coming, and so are the parties and gatherings. Whether your beloved pet is very friendly or shy, holidays can be a source of both fun and stress. If they like parties, they are susceptible to hazards like being fed toxic food and choking on decorations. If they don’t enjoy mingling with humans or other pets very much, then the stress probably sets in early on–as soon as they start seeing others. And when our dear pets experience anxiety, so are their humans. Today’s article discusses having a holiday with pets and how we can make them safe and calm.

Most car designs are suitable for people, thus, making it hard to ensure the safety of our pet passengers.
Learn how to keep your pets safe for travel in this video.

Keeping Your Pets Safe

For you and your pet to truly enjoy a holiday with pets, you want to ensure that your pet is safe. You wouldn’t want to spend the holidays trying to find a vet or to stay home because your dear ‘baby’ is too sick to travel or stay home alone, right? If you’ve been a pet lover for years, you’d know by now that a lot can go wrong during the holidays. But if you’re new to all this, here is a list of a few things you should keep in mind to keep your pet safe during the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

As the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests, planning is essential, especially when you’re taking your pet to places you’re unfamiliar with.

24/7 Emergency Services

Find out if your pet’s veterinarian offers 24/7 emergency services. They may have a network of veterinary doctors who respond to emergency calls. If you’re leaving for a holiday with pets or visiting family who don’t live in your area, find out if their service would still be available where you’re going to stay.

If your pet’s doctor is not on-call or is too far from where you’re going, find out where the nearest 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic is and how to contact them. You may have your vet, but during emergencies, every second counts, and your first option should be to determine who can get to your location first.

Plan Your Travel Route

The last thing you’d want is to find your way (or worse, get lost) when you already have an emergency on your hands.

ASPCA Hotline

Keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s hotline (1-888-426-4435) on your phone, your pet’s veterinarian and a 24/7 emergency number (if different). Have these numbers written on a paper/card and place it somewhere it can be easily found–i.e., in your wallet if you’re traveling or on the fridge or near the main door if you’ll be having guests over (for the safety of your guests’ pets as well).

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Avoid Giving Human Food to Pets

Especially when you’re traveling, stick to your pet’s standard meals and treats. But if you can’t do anything about it while on holiday with pets, take note of the following list of people’s food and make sure your pet does not ingest any.

Anything Sweet

Chocolates can be toxic to cats and dogs, and xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in gums, candies, cakes, and other baked goods, can potentially cause liver failure and death in dogs. You might think that you’ve seen one of your friends feed their dog chocolate and nothing happened; this is because the toxicity depends on the kind of chocolate, the amount of chocolate they ate, and the dog’s size. Don’t take the risk.

Yeast Dough

When dogs or cats ingest unbaked dough, they may suffer from bloating or alcohol poisoning. The raw bread dough expands in their warm and moist stomach, and it can cause bloating. Signs of bloating include an elevated heart rate, weakness, non-productive retching, vomiting, and collapse.

In severe cases, this can even lead to death. In addition, when the yeast in the unbaked dough reacts with sugars, a process called fermentation starts, where alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced. The carbon dioxide makes the bread rise, and the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream causing alcohol poisoning. When a pet ingests alcohol, dangerous drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and body temperature can happen. In severe cases, seizures and failure in the respiratory system can occur.

Table Scraps

Sometimes people mean well when they give pets food while you’re on a holiday with pets. However, what many need to realize is that food that is healthy for people may not necessarily be beneficial for our pets. On the contrary, they might even be poisonous. And even if they aren’t, holiday table scraps, including turkey and turkey skin, can be fattening and challenging to digest. Avoiding this type of food means keeping our dear pets away from pancreatitis. Chocolates, macadamia nuts, raisins, and grapes are toxic. Olives and similar kinds of food are known to be choking hazards.

Check for Signs of Stress

  • Our pets express themselves differently. Dogs wag their tails to indicate excitement. Cats gently give you a nudge when they’re showing affection. Pets may shake or cower when scared. Know your pet’s stress signs.
  • If you adopted your pet or bought it from a store, find out if they have anxiety and what triggers them. Stress causes erratic behavior.
  • Remember that your pet can sense your emotions. To reduce pet tension, stay calm.
  • Keep decorations safe from pets.
  • Holiday decorations liven up a gathering.
  • However, non-pet-friendly setups can constitute safety issues.

Still on the fence about hiring a pet sitter?
Learn more here: Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter

Hazard Reminders While on Holiday With Pets

Fishing Lines /Nylon Strings

Use fishing lines/nylon strings to secure the Christmas tree (or a similar decor) to the ceiling to lessen the risk of the tree tipping over. Some of us love the sight of Christmas trees, and taking a close look at ornaments and touching them can be irresistible. Well, guess what? It’s precisely the same for many of our dear cats and dogs.

Ornaments and Decor

Keep pets away from ornaments and other decorations. If you’re the one throwing the party or hosting a gathering, try to set up decorations, so they are not easily accessible to pets. Once a pet gets a hold of an ornament or any piece of decoration, there’s no telling what will happen. The best-case scenario is that your pet plays with it for a short while without tearing it to pieces orbiting the ornament and then leaves it where no other pet might see the decoration. However, the worst-case scenario could be that it (or someone else’s pet) tries to swallow an ornament or a piece of it and ends up choking or needing costly surgery because of intestinal blockage.

Christmas Lights

Make sure electric lights are out of reach of curious pets. These lights can genuinely bring a festive atmosphere to any place, but when a pet chews the cords, it might cause burns to the curious one. Even worse, it might start a fire.


A lit candle is a fire hazard, so never leave your pet anywhere there is one. Again, if it’s up to you to decide on decorations, it’s best to leave out candles. But if you must, use candles without having to light them. Never underestimate the curiosity or persistence of a curious pet–especially cats. They climb trees, remember?

Water Additives

Avoid using water additives for indoor plants or Christmas trees, such as sugar and aspirin. And speaking of plants, Holly can cause animals to feel nauseous, vomit, and suffer from diarrhea. Mistletoe can also cause significant issues like cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal upset. Cats, in particular, might suffer from kidney failure if they ingest lilies (depending on which variety). To be safe, do some research before you finalize your list of decorations and food.

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Causes and Signs of Anxiety and Stress

Experiencing stress, no doubt, is never pleasant. But the real trouble comes when the odd behavior isn’t managed well or on time. Remember that aside from physical pain and discomfort, other things can stress our dear pets, such as our own emotional and psychological state, thunderous noise, and sudden noises. You’ve probably seen your pet tremble after a deafening thunder or when there are fireworks. Don’t forget that their hearing is 4x more sensitive than ours.

To be able to manage your pet’s stress or anxiety promptly, you’d have to be able to see the symptoms. Trembling, licking, frequent yawning, uneasiness, and frequent barking are all signs of stress. 

Also, do your pets like playing with other dogs or cats? Do they like visitors? Have they experienced any trauma? Aside from knowing their history, It helps to be attentive and notice any changes in behavior right away. Just like humans, our pets are not all the same. Always remember that they have varying personalities and communication styles as well.

Keeping Your Pets Calm if You’re Attending a Party or Will Be Traveling for Vacation

Just like how it is for humans, one of the most effective ways to keep them calm and help prevent them from having anxiety attacks is to be aware of their triggers or causes of stress. During a holiday with pets, when we expect to be attending more gatherings than most of the year, it helps to be prepared and extra mindful of your schedule and your pet’s needs.

Write Things Down

Have you ever experienced having an idea or thought of something important and then forgetting about it in just a couple of seconds? Well, it happens. And whether you’re planning on having people over or bringing your dear pet to a party or gathering (no matter how small), it will help to write down everything because it’s easier to forget things you’re not following your daily routine.

Set Alarms for Medication

Especially pets with prescribed medication for anxiety must take their medicines on time. Set alarms on your phone so you don’t forget about it. Getting caught up in conversations with people you’ve missed is very easy.

Bring extra medicine, food, and treats with you when you travel

Always have extra medicine, especially when you’re traveling to another place–whether it’s just a few or a thousand miles away. You’ll never know–you might have to stay longer than expected. Better prepared than sorry.

Keep Your Pet With You if You Can

This works best for small pets. If you have a pet sling where you can carry your pet with you, having them stay as close to you as possible will help keep them relaxed and feeling secure–especially if your pet has separation anxiety.

Keep Them Busy

If you are on vacation, going out for walks or playing with them more often will help keep them happy and relaxed. It will also make them tired and want to rest. This also works if you’re the one hosting the party.

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Keeping Your Pet Calm if You’re Hosting a Party or Gathering

See if You Have Any Alternatives

If you are holding a party at your own place, check if you can leave your pet for a few hours with someone they like. If this is not an option, consider boarding so that they will at least be with professionals.

Set up a pet-friendly room

Suppose your pet doesn’t have separation anxiety and can manage to be alone in a room for a few hours. In that case, this is a good option to keep your baby away from all the noise and activities. This also works well if you haven’t had the chance to train your pet and expect them to be extra friendly with guests or beg for food. Remember, not everyone is a dog/cat lover. Having a room set up for pets, with cozy beds and treats, will ensure the pets are safe and calm, allowing any guests who aren’t really into pets or animals to have a good time.

Let Your Family and Friends Know of House Rules Ahead of Time

Whether or not your guests will be allowed to bring pets or not, it will be good to let them know of specific house rules–i.e., no feeding pets party food. Pets will have to stay leashed or in kennels. Of course, if you have expected guests who are allergic to pets, then it might be best to let people know that pets are not allowed. In the same way, it would be good to let your guests know that you have a pet. Just in case they might be allergic.

Appoint a Couple of Pet Monitors (Or Ask For Volunteers)

There’s always a big chance that you have guests who love pets. Ask for their help with keeping an eye on your pet (and others), emphasizing making sure the pets are not given party food and that they stay away from guests’ purses or decorations.

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Have Calming Supplements or Appeasing Pheromones for Cats and Dogs Available

If you just adopted your pet, or are not sure how your baby will react to guests and possibly their pets, then keep products that have pets appeasing pheromones or supplements that have calming effects available. Appeasing pheromones provide a sense of calm and safety because they mimic the odor that mothers have a few days after giving birth. It works the same way as when our infants sleep better when we place beside them a shirt just worn by their mother. Having an appeasing pheromone spray might come in handy not just for your pet but for your pet guests as well.

Maintain Your Usual Routine

Whether traveling with your pet or hosting a holiday party, aim to keep your routine regardless of how busy things get. Feed them and give them medicines at the same time. Have your walks and playtime too. Suppose you know that you won’t be able to be available for these. In that case, you might want to get a professional pet sitter or dog walker ahead of time.

Things can be pretty busy during a holiday with pets. Of course, we all want to have a great time–including our pets. The best way to achieve this is to keep our beloved pets safe and calm during the holidays and to anticipate any issues that may arise so we can be prepared for them or try to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Learn to protect your pets in case of potential danger in this good read about Pet Fire Safety

Holiday With Pets

Enjoying a holiday with pets is achievable with these tips we have on our list. Ultimately, ensuring your pets is one of the best things you can provide for them regardless of the season. Pet Insurance covers any accident, illness or wellness needs of your pet. Protect them from unexpected vet bills with pet insurance. Get A Quote Today!

Call or text Advantage Insurance Solutions today at (877) 658-2472 to get the right, best-value insurance coverage for your needs!

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