Pet Safety around the Holidays

It’s soon to be the most wonderful time of the year! As a pet owner, when you’re gathering with family and friends during the holiday season, nothing can ruin the moment quite like a trip to the emergency vet. Fortunately, there are many precautions you can take to help ensure that your furry, scaly, and feathered friends stay safe during the holidays.

Traveling Concerns

Are you going away for the holiday? Whether you’re planning to bring your pet along or board them, there are steps to take to ensure everyone is safe and sound:

  • Interstate or international travel may require a health certificate and/or medical records from your vet. Be sure to check the requirements of every destination to make sure you’re legal to be there with your animals.
  • Pets in vehicles should be properly restrained in a carrier or with a harness, not near an airbag or in the bed of a truck.
  • Pack for your pet, including their food, medications, paperwork, identification, first aid supplies, and medical records.
  • Talk to your veterinarian to make sure air travel is a good idea for your pet.
  • Ensure your pets are up-to-date on all vaccinations, especially if boarding.

Hosting in your home?

Be sure to consider how your pets will react to visitors. Not all pets are used to strangers, small children, or elderly people, and interactions with guests should be monitored carefully to make sure everyone is safe and happy. Visitors and holiday hubbub may upset more sensitive pets, particularly exotics, so there should always be a quiet, relaxing space for these animals to retreat to in case of stress.

Ahead of time, let your guests know that you have pets in the home, and what varieties, to avoid problems with guests who have allergies or other medical issues that may be incompatible with your pets. If your guests want to bring their animals, and you aren’t sure how your pets will react to them, it’s best to decline the request unless you have enough space and time to keep them separated throughout the visit if necessary.


The easiest way to avoid animal injuries around the holidays is an ounce of prevention. Have your vet’s information handy, as well as the number and location of an emergency vet that will be open on holidays and weekends, just in case.

Two of the biggest safety offenders are decorations, and food. Decorations are naturally attractive to pets. They’re new, they smell different, and they’re shiny and inviting. But, there are dangers to be aware of, including:

  • Christmas trees, which can tip over if pets try to climb on them or play with the ornaments.
  • Water additives for Christmas trees can be toxic. Do not use them if you have pets in your home.
  • Electrical lights and candles can cause burns and fires if pets chew on the cords or knock them over.
  • Holiday plants such as poinsettias, balsam, pine, cedar and holly can be poisonous to pets.

While it’s tempting to share your holiday feast with your pet, it’s best to stick to pet food and treats only. Some major food no-no’s for pets include:

  • Chocolate for both dogs AND cats;
  • Sweets, gum, and baked goods, as they may contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs;
  • Fatty cuts of turkey and turkey skin, which can cause pancreatitis in pets;
  • Any table scrap, as there are hidden dangers in seemingly harmless foods like onions, raisins, and grapes

If you’re looking to give your furry friends a safe treat, Leo&Lucky’s stocks a wide variety of holiday stocking stuffers. We have holiday-themed toys, Earth Animal No Hide (a great rawhide alternative), holiday cookies and treats, and pet calming if necessary; Pet Releaf with CBD is a great option for an anxious pet.

And, while you’re making your preparations for the holidays, be sure that Fido and Whiskers are looking their best for all of those holiday photos and visits. Give The Spa at Leo&Lucky’s grooming room a call at 941-776-9524 to schedule a holiday grooming session. Be sure to book early, as appointments fill quickly this time of year. We are also pleased to announce the opening of our new self-serve dog wash. Pop in during store hours to discover how easy and affordable it is to bathe your dog with our ergonomic elevated washtubs, free shampoo, and professional dryers.

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Leo&Lucky's.