Pet Safety Tips to Keep the Bah, Humbug Out of Holidays

‘Tis the season to put up holiday decorations. And while you’re busy making your home shiny and bright, keep an eye on Fido and Kitty. Some festive holiday trimmings can make them sick or send them to a veterinary hospital.

County Animal Services has nine tips on how to protect your pets so you can keep the happy in your holidays.

  • Keep pets away from mistletoe, holly or poinsettias. They are toxic to animals.
  • Chocolate can be toxic, too, so keep stockings out of reach and any chocolate cookies you might leave out for Santa.
  • Anchor your Christmas tree so 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 a trip to the vet and keep both tinsel and curling ribbon away from cats or don’t use it at all.
  • Hide 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 hustle and bustle of 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 can scare dogs. 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 both dogs and cats. They might slip out the door unnoticed while you’re busy greeting holiday visitors. If someone finds your lost pet or pets, a vet’s office or shelter can scan for a microchip and you’ll quickly be reunited. Animal Services offers microchipping from 1 to 3 p.m. every Thursday except holidays. The fee is only $10 and includes national registration.
  • Use your computer or smartphone and sign up for Finding Rover. This free service uses facial recognition to identify dogs. If your pet gets lost, Finding Rover has the photo on file for anyone who may find him.

For more tips, visit County Animal Services’ Safety Tips for Every Season: Winter. You’ll be able to cross pet worries off your holiday list and enjoy the season.


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