The Holiday Season is upon us! While things may look different for many families this year because of coronavirus restrictions on travel and gatherings, you may still be planning a turkey dinner with all the fixings. Mmmmm! Here are a few thoughts on how to keep your dog safe during the holidays.

Some foods to avoid include:

  • Turkey skin and bones: Both can cause gastrointestinal upset, and bones can also splinter and irritate or damage the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Raisins and grapes: Raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Please avoid them and food made with them.
  • Onions and garlic (in any form- raw, powdered, or cooked) can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Even some baby foods have onion or garlic in them and should be avoided in pets.
  • Alcohol: Any alcohol is toxic to pets, including beer, wine, liquor or other spirits. Foods prepared using alcohol should also be avoided.
  • Corn on the Cob: While corn is not a problem for pets, the cob is, and it’s one of the more common gastrointestinal obstructions we see (and often end in surgery). Take care to block your pet’s access to the trash can as plates are being cleared!
  • Chocolate: Most pet owners know to avoid letting their pet have chocolate, but just be extra aware of chocolate leftovers from Halloween that may be laying around. Cocoa and baking chocolates are the most potent/toxic to pets.


Whether you’re a new pet owner, a long-time pet parent or if you are having guests over who don’t have pets (they are truly missing out, right?!), you will want to make sure your pets are safe and healthy. No one wants to have to make a visit to an emergency veterinarian and worry about their pet. Some pets will welcome the disruption to their usual routine, but others may want to get away from it all. 

  • Know your pet’s personality and know whether he will enjoy additional people in the house, or if he’d be happier in a room by himself with a soft blanket and a delicious treat for distraction. 
  • Make certain your guests and their children stay out of your pet’s face and don’t try to take a toy away from him. Even the most mild-mannered dog could have a “personality change” when surrounded by strangers, especially strangers who may be trying to play with one of their toys. Supervise all interactions with your guests and your dogs.
  • Talk to you veterinarian about options to help with anxiety for your pet. Some options (depending on your pet’s specific situation of course) include pheromone sprays, noise machines or music to drown out the guest noise, a quiet and cozy place away from the action, and even anti-anxiety medications.

Keep your pet safe by keeping him away from any open doors. If your guests are in and out of the house and aren’t aware that your pet is around, he may slip out the door. If possible, keep him away from the door, and consider keeping a collar on him with contact information and that it is up-to-date. We recommend microchipping your pet as an additional layer of safety.

Finally, take advantage of the cooler weather! Walk your dogs a few extra times a week- you and your pet will most likely appreciate the fall sights and smells, and more exercise is good for everyone! We wish you and your families a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season!