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Holiday Pets 101: Safety, Fun and Gifts

Help your pets make it through the holiday season


Help ensure that your pets are ready for the holidays. Shopping for pets and their people are just part of the preparations. Learn about keeping your pets safe during the holidays, holiday travel tips, gift ideas for pets, vets and your animal loving friends and family.

The About.com Pet Guides are here to help with a variety of topics on holiday pet care tips and gift ideas.

1. Gifts for Pets and Their People

Christmas Cat by dierken on Flickr
by dierken on Flickr

Looking for great gift ideas for pets and pet lovers? Safety concerns should be considered first when selecting gifts for pets. Not all toys are safe for every pet. Knowing the pet's age, abilities, and 'personality' is a first start. The pet's humans are much easier to shop for.

Gift Ideas


2. Holiday Cats

Photo Credit: © Sharon, Billerica Care Coalition

Most of us who share our homes with cats consider them as family members, and the winter holidays are even more precious when shared with our holiday cats. These articles from Franny Syufy, Guide to Cats, will all help you keep the winter holidays happier and safer for your holiday cats, as well as to provide comfort for homeless cats.

3. Dog Lovers' Holiday Survival Guide

The holiday season can be both fun and stressful, but proper planning can help prevent the latter. Your dog can tell when you are stressed out, so it can affect her too. Learn how to make the holiday season go smoothly for you and your dog, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or anything else from Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com Guide to Dogs.


4. Holiday Safety Tips for Exotic Pets

Burt the Ferret by GenGlo on Flickr. Used with permission.
by GenGlo on Flickr. Used with permission.

In the holiday excitement, it is best not to forget that sometimes our celebrations can prove stressful or even dangerous to our pets.

5. Holiday Horses

Photo: 2008 K. Blocksdorf

When winter arrives, our horse activities tend to wind down and turn into a routine of mucking out, feeding and grooming. But the holidays are a great opportunity to have some fun and introduce your non-horsey friends and family to your equine companion. Check out these great ideas and tips from Katherine Blocksdorf, Guide to Horses.

6. Gift Ideas for a Freshwater Aquarist

Holidays bring special joys, but they also bring special challenges.  How do you keep your fish healthy while you are away on holiday trips?  What should you do if there is power outage?  And the biggest challenge of all, what to buy fish loving family and friends for holiday gifts.  These resources will help answer all those questions, and make your holiday a bright one from Shirlie Sharpe, Guide to Freshwater Aquariums.

7. Gift Ideas for a Saltwater Aquarist

If you are searching for a gift for anyone who has a saltwater aquarium, that someone will always be looking for "something else" that he or she still needs or wants to make their tank perfect. Need some inspiration? Here are some helpful ideas and tips from Stan & Debbie Hauter, Guides to Saltwater Aquariums.

8. Toxic Holiday Foods and Plants

image courtesy © "Randy Son Of Robert" on Flickr
© "Randy Son Of Robert" on Flickr

The possibility of pets eating something harmful or poisonous is a risk that exists year round. The holidays present many new plants and foods that pets may eat or be fed by accident. Knowing what to watch and keep out of pets' reach is the first step to keeping them safe.

9. Holiday Pet Emergencies

Poinsettia Flower - credit: CodyR on Flickr
© CodyR on Flickr

Most common holiday calls to Pet Poison Helpline
I asked veterinary specialists Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC to list the top 5 pet safety and poisoning questions they have received during the holidays at Pet Poison Helpline. Here is their list of pet poison emergency calls received at the poison help call center.

Related: Holiday Emergencies - can it wait?

10. Holiday Adoption and Rescue

Argos the Greyhound hanging out with Sophie by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

The holidays may be a time to add a new pet member to the family via adoption and rescue. Doing research beforehand (and never giving a pet as an unexpected gift) will help ensure a happily ever after.

11. Holiday Travel and Pets

Puppy in carrier - Getty Images/Lew Robertson
Getty Images/Lew Robertson

Trips away from home without your pets are often stressful for the pet and you. Being prepared beforehand and finding a conscientious pet sitter or kennel are good first steps.

12. Busy Holiday Times - Laundry Room Safety

Barnie and the dryer - by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

With warmth producing machines and plenty of things to chew on, it may seem like a great big playland to pet. I know this first hand with my cat Barnie, who decided to check out the clothes dryer. Thank goodness he was ok!

During the holiday times, we are busy, distracted, and often doing more laundry. Here are some laundry room precautions for pets from Mary Marlowe Leverette, the About.com Guide to Laundry.

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