This time of year is filled with different holidays and celebrations and with the short, cold days in the northern hemisphere, it’s nice to have a few reasons to be with loved ones. For all those who celebrated Hanukkah, I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends! And for all those who will be celebrating Christmas and Kwanzaa, I hope your time with family and friends is filled with happiness and love.

Having cats and dogs during the holiday season can be so much fun. For one, there are so many cute ways to dress up and take photos of your pet. And the way in which some pets react to getting their own present is incredibly adorable! But during this time of year and in the midst of holiday celebrations, it’ll be important to keep an eye on your pets to make sure that everyone is happy and healthy.

If you have a Christmas tree or other kinds of decorations, it’ll be important to keep an eye on how your pets react to it. Some might try to eat the decorations and regardless of whether it’s an artificial or real tree, doing so can be dangerous for your pet. Odds are that your pet might not eat massive amounts of the tree but if it is a problem, it might be good to have a barrier between the tree and keep your pet away from it while you’re out of the house. Plus, some dogs and cats try to eat tinsel or ribbon, which could cause major intestinal issues.

The problem we always faced in my house was when my childhood cats would keep drinking the water under the Christmas tree. The good news is that they never had any issues in large part because we never added anything to the water but it could have been a completely different story! If you do have cats who like to drink the tree water, the best course of action is to make sure that it’s just fresh water (without anything added) and/or to cover the water bowl.

Another thing to be on the lookout for is what your pet is eating/getting into. Some might try to get ahold of chocolate or leftovers and many dogs and cats are very determined when it comes to food. While some leftovers might be okay for your dog, too much might upset their stomach, as they aren’t able to digest everything we are. Plus, cooked bones (like in a turkey) can be harmful to dogs and more dangerous for cats if they’re digested. And while a bit of the leftovers might be okay for dogs, it might be best for cats to avoid getting any extra treats after the big dinner.

Like I mentioned around Halloween, you should also try to avoid your pet getting any chocolate! If you are giving chocolate as a present, it might be best to keep it out of reach for dogs before, during, and after gift giving. It also might be best to come up with a creative way to leave Santa cookies (if you or your children plan to on Christmas Eve!), as I know that any determined dog would love to get their paws on some cookies!

If you’re traveling with your pet or busy with hosting for any holiday, it’ll still be important to keep an eye on how your pet is doing. They might get stressed out by all the decorations or people and it might be good to have a ‘holiday-free zone’ for them to escape to. Even the most friendly dog might need a break from people! The same goes for taking photos at home or with Santa. Keep an eye on your pet’s behavior during those times and if they seemed stressed out or uncomfortable, it’ll be best to just try again another time.  And it’s always important to make sure that your dog has plenty of bathroom breaks, as holding it for too long can lead to urinary tract infections.

There are some fun things to do with your pets during this time of year though! Some who celebrate Christmas will also make a stocking for their pet(s) and will give the pets gifts like dog toys, catnip, and treats! Others will take cute photos of their pets all dressed up (i.e. in costumes like reindeer antler or even with Santa). With that, just make sure that your pet isn’t too stressed out! And there are so many recipes online for dog-friendly Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday cookies.

The time during the holidays can be wonderful and happy but it’s still important that our pets are safe and healthy in the midst of everything that’s going on. There are some creative ways in which to keep your pets away from the Christmas tree or other decorations and putting away or throwing away leftovers/table scraps can mean that your pet doesn’t get an upset stomach or any intestinal issues. Plus, there are so many activities we can do with pets!

From Milo, Rooster, and I, we hope everyone has (or had) a wonderful time during this holiday season. Let me know what you did with your pets during the holidays in the comments!

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