It takes planning to protect your pets during the holidays


  • Photo of Richard M. Nixon's dogs looking out a White House window via General Services Administration/Wikimedia Commons
Holiday safety is a must, and that goes for pets, too.

Veterinarians at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital has made a list of holiday hazards, some of which are less obvious than others.

Chocolate can be fatal for dogs. During the holidays, be on the lookout for chocolate and any sweets or baked goods containing chocolate. Table scraps, as tempting as may be to call a pet over to finish them under the table, can be dangerous for pets. Clear away scraps of turkey, turkey skin, turkey bones, gravy and meat fat.

Decorations look delectable to most children and many an adult. Be sure your pet isn’t eying items like Christmas trees, electric lights, water additives, ornaments, candles, tinsel, and potpourris. Gift wrappings, sparkly ribbon and glittery bows can cause intestinal blockage. And never leave a pet alone with a lot candle or hot electrical lights.

If your pet isn’t microchipped, the holidays are a good time to consider it – the front door swings open a lot during holiday gatherings. It’s also advisable to create a quiet space for pets who may become overwhelmed by gatherings.

Holiday travel is made worse by holiday stress. That applies to your pet, too. If driving, use a secure harness or a carrier, placed away from airbags. Remember, it’s a bad idea to transport pets in the bed of a truck, or leave them alone in a car. Items to bring along for the pet include: pet food, fresh water, medications, copies of their medical records, their ID tag, veterinarian information, a crate, bed or blanket, and toys.

Another thing to bring on the road is emergency contact information. Bring your primary veterinarian's address and digits, as well as for vet hospitals along the route. The number for the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline; 1-888-426-4435.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.