Your pet is part of your family, so of course you want to include them in your holiday festivities. This is a time of year to celebrate the joy in your life and to express gratitude for those who make you happy. That being said, it’s important to make sure that, when you’re including your furry friend in your holiday cheer, you’re doing everything you can to protect them.

At Countryside Animal Hospital, we want to make sure that all of our favorite pets make it through the holiday season healthy and happy, which is why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to keeping your pet safe this holiday season.


The holidays are a time of large gatherings full of family, friends, and best of all, food. That being said, just because you’re indulging, doesn’t mean your furry friend should be too. People food can be hazardous to pets, especially:

  • Chocolate: You may love a stocking full of Hershey Kisses, but if your dog or cat gets ahold of one, chances are, you are spending Christmas at the emergency vet clinic. Toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten, and the size of your pet, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Baked Goods: Not only are baked goods bad for pets because they are too rich for them to properly digest, but they may also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets.
  • Raisins/Grapes: Grapes are toxic to dogs, so make sure to keep them in any form away from the floor.
  • Table Scraps: It’s tempting to offer up table scraps to your favorite furry friends, but turkey and ham and other rich food can cause pancreatitis in pets, which can be life-threatening. Keep the feast above the table, not under it.


  • Christmas Tree: Keep in mind that when your cat sees your Christmas tree, chances are, they are going to want to immediately scale it. This can easily knock it over, so be sure to stabilize your tree with fishing line. In addition, keep in mind that breakable ornaments can become damaged and cause injuries to pets.
  • Tinsel: Pets often choose to chew on tinsel, which causes major issues when it comes to their intestinal tracts. Hundreds of pets are taken to the vet every year to surgically remove tinsel blockages.
  • Strings of Lights: Pets may chew on strings of light, causing electrical burns.
  • Candles: A pet with an unattended candle can be a crisis. Make sure to never leave candles lit in a room alone with your pet.


  • A Haven: If you’re having a party, make sure your pets have a safe place to escape to if they’re feeling overstimulated. Make sure your pet has somewhere to go away from the guests.
  • Put Food Away: As the festivities wind down, make sure to clear away food promptly so pets can’t get into it. Make sure to keep all the food you throw away tightly secured in a trash can by tying it in multiple plastic bags, securely closing the container, and ideally, putting it back outside.
  • Guests with Pets: If any of your guests ask to bring their pet when you aren’t sure if your pets get along, either politely decline or take steps to ensure their safety and the safety of all your guests. Give them some time in advance to adjust to each other, keep a close on them, and take action if you notice any signs of a problem.
  • Mind the Doors: Parties mean lots of people going in and out of the house, which gives your pets more opportunity to launch an escape. Watch them closely when people are coming in or leaving. In addition, make sure your pet is microchipped and has a collar with contact information just in case they slip out.
  • Keep Tidy: Pets can get into trash and endanger themselves. If you have decorative ribbons from opened presents, for example, your pet may become intrigued and accidentally ingest it.


  • Health Certificates: You need to have a health certificate from your Fort Collins vet if you plan on traveling with your pet, whether by air or on the road. This is required if you are traveling by interstate or internationally. Make sure to research the rules of the states where you will be visiting before you leave, and schedule an appointment with our animal hospital in Fort Collins so we can sign off on the health of your pet.
  • Car Safety: If you are taking your pet on a road trip, make sure to properly restrain them to protect them from injury. You can accomplish this with a harness, a carrier, or a kennel. You should never transport your pet in the bed of your truck.
  • Air Travel: If you are flying somewhere with your pet, talk to your vet first to make sure they are in good enough health to safely fly on an airplane. For some dogs, air travel is inherently problematic for them, particularly short-nosed dogs. Get the perspective of your vet before bringing your pet along for the flight.
  • Properly Pack for Your Pet: If you are traveling with your furry friend, make sure that you have everything they need. Include any medications and food, as well as copies of medical records, identification, pet first aid supplies, and whatever other essentials.
  • Boarding Your Dog: If you will need to leave your dog at a kennel for the holidays, make sure that they are up-to-date on their vaccines and are protected against canine flu in particular.

At Countryside Animal Hospital, we want to do everything we can to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy this holiday season. Regardless of how you are celebrating the end of the year, all the good things that happened, and all the good that is yet to come, we hope that you and your furry friends stay safe during this busy time of year. Contact us for a vet in Fort Collins!