Happy Holidays for You and Your Pets!

For your pet, a happy holiday might be a special treat and maybe a toy. For you pet owners, the first steps toward a happy holiday are making sure Kitty and Fido can’t get into trouble!

Save yourself an emergency trip to the vet or hide and seek missions to find that wandering pet during the mad holiday rush by taking some precautions. County Animal Services has nine tips to help you keep them safe and healthy this holiday season.

  • If you decorate with mistletoe, holly or poinsettias, make sure pets can’t get to them. They are toxic to animals.   
  • Keep stockings out of reach, too, especially if they contain any chocolate, as it can be toxic to your pets too. And, if you leave cookies out for Santa, make sure your pets don’t munch them down first!
  • Anchor your Christmas tree so your pets can’t tip it over. If you’ve used anything but tap water for the base of the tree, make sure they can’t drink it.
  • Cats love to play with tinsel and curling ribbon but then they’ll try to eat it. Prevent an expensive trip to the veterinarian and keep both tinsel and curling ribbon out of reach or don’t use it at all. 
  • Hide all electrical cords from your pets and make sure they can’t play with or knock over any candles.
  • Set aside a quiet room. Many dogs and cats get overwhelmed with all the commotion that goes on over the holidays. A quiet room allows them to escape and sleep undisturbed.
  • Ringing in the New Year? Your dog needs a quiet, secure place on New Year’s Eve. The loud booms from fireworks scare dogs and some will do anything to escape the noise; they’ll run for miles and become lost. Create a safe place where they can hide out from the explosive sounds of the New Year and make sure your dog is wearing identification, just in case.  
  • Microchip your pet. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, animals may slip out the door unnoticed. If someone finds your pet, a vet’s office or shelter can scan for a microchip and you’ll quickly be reunited with your pet. Animal Services offers microchipping  from 1 to 3 p.m. every Thursday except holidays. The fee is only $10 and includes national registration.        
  • Do you have a picture of your dog? Of course you do! Use your computer or smartphone and sign up for Finding Rover. This free service uses facial recognition to identify lost dogs. If your pet gets lost, Finding Rover has the photo on file for anyone who may find him. One dog was found even though he was wearing sunglasses in the photo!

The holidays are stressful enough without worrying about your pets running off or getting sick from seasonal plants and decorations. Follow these nine tips and both you and your pets can enjoy the holiday season!       


Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact