Get Healthy Carson City: Give your pet a safe and fun holiday, too! |

Get Healthy Carson City: Give your pet a safe and fun holiday, too!

Kimberly Wade
Nevada Humane Society
A cute golden retriever dog is wearing a santa hat during Christmas. It is sitting and looking happy. A Christmas tree with lights is in the background.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

The holiday season is here, and if you are like us, you are definitely including your pets in all of the festivities! And why wouldn’t you? Our pets are family, too, so celebrating with them is simply second nature. As you gear up for this, we thought it was appropriate for some gentle reminders about keeping our pets safe.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

Oh, Christmas tree: Securely anchor your tree so it does not tip and fall, causing injury to your pet. Sweep up pine needles — they can easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat. And do not let them drink the tree water, because it may have fertilizer or other harmful chemicals that can cause an upset tummy or worse.

Avoid poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and lilies: Though these holiday flowers are beautiful, go for the fake ones. If a pet ingests any of these, it can cause serious or life-threatening illnesses. When in doubt, verify if a plant is non-toxic by using the ASPCA’s poisonous plant website (

Tinsel and ribbon: Pets are notorious for consuming these shiny things and they can lead to an obstruction, surgery, or life threatening illness. Go tinsel free!

Havin’ a bauble: Keep ornaments (especially glass ones), wires, batteries or other décor out of reach. We do not want to give them any additional ideas for toys, so supervise pets when they are around holiday decorations! Do not forget about candles too — pets may get burned, or worse — start a fire!

Food Safety

Skip the sweets: Chocolate, or anything sweetened with xylitol, are a big no for pets! Pumpkin, though, plain or cooked, is excellent for both cats and dogs — and has other health benefits when it comes to No. 2 potty behavior!

Guard the trash: We know the trash will be filled, which means it will smell pretty tasty to any animal. Take it out as soon as you are done with it to prevent any mishaps.

Leave the leftovers: Fatty or spicy foods or bones should not be fed to our furry family. Other highly toxic ingredients? Onions, garlic, nuts, most mushrooms, and raw bread dough. Careful with cocktails, too — they do not need alcohol. For a complete list of toxic food, visit

Good treats: There are some treats you can share in moderation. White-meat turkey (no skin or bones) and mashed potatoes (no butter or gravy) are OK, as are raw apple slices and corn. Cranberries, peas, and green beans are excellent for dogs!

Other Holiday Safety Tips

Give pets a getaway: Having a house full of guests may be stressful, especially if your pets are not social. Have a private room set aside for them with their toys and beds, calming music or TV.

Check ID: Those same guests may not be familiar with your pets, so not only do you want to be sure they do not accidently let anyone outside, but be sure your pets are all microchipped (and that the chip is registered with up to date info) and tagged, so that if they do get out, you can easily identify them.

New Year’s noise: Loud noises such as fireworks or champagne pops can panic your pet. Make sure they are in that quiet room away from confetti, noise, and other holiday hazards when you count down to midnight.

Do not think this means you can’t have fun with your pet this holiday season though! It is the most wonderful time of year for them, too! While we know you have lots of great ideas to keep your pets happy, here are a few easy ones.

Holiday Fun

Gifts: Who does not love to spoil their pet these days? Get them a new toy, bed, or other fun item that they can use to stay busy during the busy holiday season. They will appreciate it for sure!

Exercise: You do not have to avoid the snow! Just remember to keep Fido hydrated, and keep his feet covered if you are outside for extended periods of time — you do not want frostbite on those little paws! Dogs can also lose their scent in the snow, so keep them nearby and on-leash. And if you are looking for the perfect time to dress up your pets, this season is the one!

Couch time: We are all busy this time of year, so do not forget about your cats and dogs. They will be thrilled to spend some time on the couch in front of a warm fire!

Happy Holidays, from our two- and four-legged family at the Nevada Humane Society! To learn more about the Nevada Human Society and our upcoming events, please visit

Kimberly Wade is the communications director for the Nevada Humane Society.