The holidays aren’t all they’re nut-cracked up to be. In fact, sometimes they’re downright chaotic. 

After you’ve sleighed all day and your cup of holiday cheer is empty, the last thing you need is a pet-related emergency. Ensure you and your pet have a well-deserved silent night this Christmas by accepting this gift—a holiday pet survival guide from MountainView Veterinary Hospital

#1: All is calm—talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s anxiety

The holidays can be worrisome for sensitive or fearful pets. Unfamiliar decorations, a revolving door of visitors, and interrupted schedules can trigger or worsen pet anxiety and lead to emotional distress, behavior problems, accidents, and self-harm.

If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, excessive fear, or phobias, or is generally nervous in new or unfamiliar situations, ask your veterinarian about strategies for reducing their stress. Short-term options include dietary supplements, anti-anxiety medications, and calming pet pheromones (e.g., Adaptil or Feliway).

#2: Jingle all the way—ensure your pet wears current identification

Whether your holiday plans will take you and your pet over the river and through the woods, or no further than your driveway, your pet must be properly identified. Should your pet get loose while traveling, or they slip out your front door, a well-fitted collar bearing identification tags and a microchip can ensure their safe return home.

#3: Have a silent night—create a quiet space for your pet

God rest ye merry gentle pets, let nothing you dismaybecause your caring owner designed you a peaceful escape from the holiday excitement. 

Set up a quiet space in a low-traffic area where your pet can settle in for a long winter’s nap—or simply get away from overly affectionate Aunt Betty. Turn an empty corner into your pet’s dreamy hideaway by adding their favorite toys, a cozy bed, and easy access to necessities such as a water bowl, food, and a litter box. Allow your pet to come and go as they please, but remind your guests that the space is restricted to four-legged friends only.

#4: Oh, what fun it is—give pet-safe gifts

For many pet owners, watching their dog or cat open a present is their holiday highlight. Knowing this, many major retailers line their shelves with eye-catching holiday rawhide chews in the shape of candy canes and bows. Unfortunately, these items are the reason for countless holiday pet emergencies, including choking and life-threatening intestinal blockages. And, if that is not enough, rawhide is manufactured with harmful chemicals and potential cancer-causing agents.

Here are our pet-friendly gift recommendations for the dog or cat who has everything:

  • For chewers and retrievers — Check out Kong, WestPaw, and Goughnuts for safe, sturdy toys.
  • For foodies — Food puzzles and treat-dispensing toys, such as the SlimCat and Kong Wobbler, challenge your pet’s mind while satisfying their appetite.
  • For snugglers — Cozy pet beds and soft plush toys bring comfort and joy. 
  • For outdoorsy pets — Your adventure hound will appreciate Ruffwear’s gear for all seasons.

#5: (Don’t) bring us figgy pudding—keep your pet’s paws off harmful foods

The holidays are all about sharing—we exchange gifts, give our time to charities, spend time with loved ones, and pass platters around the table. But when it comes to holiday foods, many items should not be shared with your pet, including:

  • Turkey skin, trimmings, and gravy
  • Meat bones
  • Ham
  • Garlic, onion, and leeks, which are common in many side dishes
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Yeast dough
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar substitute xylitol

If your pet does ingest something harmful, don’t wait for illness signs—immediately contact MountainView Veterinary Hospital. For after-hours care, follow the instructions on our phone recording for the nearest veterinary emergency facility in the Rockaway or Denville areas.

#6: Rockin’ around the Christmas tree—keep pets safe around the tree

Pets probably don’t have an opinion on the real versus artificial tree debate—they’ll enthusiastically accept either one. Dogs and cats are drawn to a Chrirstmas tree’s twinkling lights, sparkling ornaments, and unique smells but, unfortunately, their undeniable curiosity can spell disaster for them and your decor. 

Prevent tree-related accidents by supervising your pet at all times around holiday decor. We recommend securing your tree to the wall or ceiling to prevent falling. Keep electrical cords covered or out of reach to prevent shock injuries and hang precious ornaments up high where wagging tails and nosy noses can’t knock them down. Cover your tree’s base and ensure pets don’t drink the tree water, which can contain bacteria and chemicals. 

#7: Dash away all—safe travel for pets

If the holidays take you beyond the Rockaway and Denville areas, you’ll never be far from MountainView Veterinary Hospital. Our telemedicine service provides 24/7 virtual care for existing clients, so you can access expert veterinary advice no matter where you go.

When traveling with your pet, ensure you pack their most recent veterinary records, as well as medications, a spare collar and leash, and extra food and water in case your plans are delayed or derailed. When traveling by car, we strongly recommend securing your pet in a crate, carrier, or pet seat belt to protect them and your passengers during a sudden stop or accident.

Don’t let your pet’s health and safety get lost in the holiday hustle and bustle. With a little careful planning—and some extra attention—you’ll both enjoy peace on earth. Happy holidays from our two and four-legged family to yours.

Ring in the new year with a resolution to provide your pet with exceptional veterinary care—contact MountainView Veterinary Hospital at our Rockaway or Denville locations for all your pet care needs.