When it comes to the most beautiful time of year, there’s nothing nicer than thinking of kicking back and relaxing…until you find your dog chewing on your Christmas candy or your cat tangled up in the Christmas tree lights. Makes it that important to ensure you’re having a safe Christmas as much as a fun one.

So with here are a couple of Christmas safety tips to stay on top of your celebrations – while also keeping your buddies safe and healthy.

Our top pet safety tips: Christmas edition

Christmas might be a time of joy, laughter, and togetherness for you and your family. But for your pets at home? Here’s how it might seem to them:

  • A house full of odd, scary noises (like fireworks, loud music, unfamiliar voices, or even worse, firecrackers)
  • Unfamiliar objects around the house (like your Christmas tree)
  • A house full of strangers (or your guests) wanting to interact with them
  • Bowls full of tempting, delicious-smelling food everywhere (many of which can be toxic to both dogs and cats)
  • A house door that’s constantly opening and closing (triggering their curiosity and maybe an escape attempt)
A dog sitting on the floor by Christmas lights

With all these factors in your home environment alone, it’s no surprise most dogs and cats might be spooked or stressed out around the holiday time. (Yes, no matter how friendly or sociable you think your pet is.)

So here are a couple of pet safety tips to help you ensure your furry friends can join in on the holiday fun. (And avoid a trip to the vet emergency room.)

Mind the food bowls

Dogs aren’t picky eaters – and in some cases, (like if you’ve just adopted one), neither are cats! Most Christmas candy contains chocolate and xylitol, both substances that are toxic to both.

And besides, other common fruits, veggies, and “human foods” in your kitchen might just end up with you taking them to the hospital. (And not enjoying Christmas even warm and safe at home.)

A woman in a Santa hat offering a cookie to a dog wearing reindeer antlers

So before you start your Christmas meal prep, make sure to stay informed on:

And once you’re in the know, make sure to brief your friends, family, and followers too. You might have a younger guest trying to sneak some unwanted veggies off their plate – and into the pet food bowl. Or you might have an older relative try and feed them alcohol as a joke. Which might seem funny, until it ends up with your dog or cat at a vet’s clinic.

💡Make sure to feed your pet their regular meals a bit in advance before your guests arrive. So they’ll be less likely to sniff around or be curious about what new meals you’re cooking. And if your dog or cat is in the habit of begging for food, stay on top of this behavior by keeping them occupied with playtime or a puzzle toy.

Avoid loud fireworks or firecrackers

Fireworks might be more of a 4th of July thing, but you do get them around Christmas too in some parts. And sadly, it’s one of the scariest, most overwhelming experiences for dogs and cats both. Dogs especially are vulnerable to noise anxiety. Which might even trigger an escape attempt – or why more dogs go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year.

So keep your fireworks on the low-key side – try and go for smaller sparklers instead that don’t make loud, scary noises for your pet. Else, you’ll be more likely to see your dog bolting out the dooror your cat running off to hide somewhere safe.

A woman and girl lighting a Christmas sparkler by a tree indoors

💡Dogs and cats tend to hide in secure spots around your house (or even outdoors) when they’re scared. Which, in the case of a smaller dog, cat, kitten or puppy, might end up with them stuck in an air vent or somewhere difficult to get out of. (And where you’ll be less likely to hear them crying for help.)

So here are three quick and easy ways you can locate your pet indoors with your trusty Tractive GPS.

Find Your Hiding Pet

Pick pet-friendly decor

Glittery Christmas decorations, dangling, sparkling ornaments and shiny candles can be too much for a pet to resist. A curious, high-energy puppy might think of your Christmas tree as a new friend and want to sniff every inch of it. (Or even pee on it to mark it as their territory.)

Or your sparkly lights and ornaments might trigger your cat’s hunting instinct – and get them to leap at it, thinking it’s “prey”. (Which might end up with them getting tangled in it.)

Three dogs sitting by a Christmas tree looking up at the lights
  • So keep your Christmas lights and ornaments well out of reach. The same applies for burning candles. (You never know where a wagging tail might end up!)
  • Secure your tree by attaching it to wall or a window with string. An active dog can easily knock it over by accident.
  • Don’t hang Christmas lights on your tree’s lower branches. Your dog may chew the wires from these lights, which might electrocute them by accident. Larger lights can also become quite hot, which might cause burns.
  • Try and avoid fragile, easily breakable Christmas ornaments. They might hurt your pet’s paws if they step on them. Your dog or cat might even choke on a fragment if swallowed by accident.
  • Keep your dog or cat occupied elsewhere as you decorate. You want to avoid creating too much of a “positive” experience around your Christmas decor when your pet’s around.
  • Unplug any Christmas lights when you’re not home. You always want to avoid a pet snagging a paw or biting them by accident when you’re not around to intervene.

💡Training your pet the “Drop it” command can help them learn what objects are off limits. Similarly, dogs are capable of learning more than 100 words – while cats can recognize them by your tone of voice and body language too!1

Watch your Christmas wrapping materials

When it’s time for gift wrapping, make sure to treat your pets like the gifts they are. (Aka, keep them far, far away.)

Why? Because if a curious puppy or kitten decides to take a bite out of wrapping paper, ribbon, string, plastic, or cloth – it might just end up causing an intestinal blockage if they swallow it. (Which you’ll end up needing to get them to a vet to remove surgically.)

A cat sitting under a Christmas tree with Christmas decorations around
  • Keep your scissors and glue far away as well. Glue is extremely toxic to pets and might cause poisoning if swallowed.
  • Keep your presents off floors or low tables. (Aka, pet-swatting height.) Rather, store them in a safe place your pet knows is “off-limits”, like your bedroom.
  • Inform your family members and other guests to keep the room closed off. (They might be more vulnerable to puppy eyes.)
  • Besides gift wrapping material, don’t forget any candy wrappers. Make sure to throw them away before your pets get to them. (Since they can cause choking.)

⚠️ One of the easiest to miss signs your dog or cat might’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have? A drop in their activity levelsor if they seem more lethargic or not themselves.

Which your Tractive device can show you every day with your pet’s Activity Tracking data, or with a Health Alert if your pet’s active minutes drop sharply. Helping you catch on to health issues early on.

Discover GPS & Health Tracking For Pets

Set up a comforting home environment

As sociable and friendly as your pets might be, they’re still more likely to get overwhelmed by the constant comings and going of your guests, unfamiliar voices, people, and maybe even other pets.

So for a safe, enjoyable Christmas this year, you’re best off supervising their socializing time and letting them “cool off” once their social batteries run out a bit.

A cat sleeping on a pillow besides a Christmas tree

So make sure to create a comforting “chill out” zone for your dog or cat.

  • Create a safe space with their bedding and favorite toys a little away from your Christmas festivities.
  • Leave them some treats or food puzzles to stay occupied.
  • Consider leaving your pet a shirt or a piece of cloth with your scent. It can help them relax better, knowing you’re nearby.
  • Check up on them periodically. (To both spend some time together – and also to make sure they haven’t escaped somewhere.)

Go for a comfy costume (if at all)

It takes dogs and cats a while to get used to even a collar – they weren’t born wearing them, after all! So if you’ve got your heart set on a pet-themed Christmas this year, go for simple, breathable, easy to shrug off costumes. (Your pets will be less likely to protest as a result.)

A pack of dogs sitting on a couch, wearing Christmas bandannas

⚠️ Struggling with a fitting costume can cause your dog or cat to choke, overheat, or breathe less easily. In some cases, it might even traumatize them.

Which is why the RSPCA recommends supervising pets in costumes, even if they seem normal.2 (So that you can intervene just in time if they show any signs of discomfort – or if they even make an escape attempt to shrug out of their outfit.)

Be mindful of outdoor time

Much before the Christmas party, it’s a good idea to tire out your dog or cat with a long walk or vigorous playtime.

Why? Because if they’re too tired, they’ll be less likely to get up to any mischief once it’s party time.

A cat stepping outdoors for a walk in the snow

At the same time, be mindful of the great outdoors:

  • Both dogs and cats can safely withstand cold temperatures – but be sure to protect their paws and dress warmly.
  • Consider equipping your pet with a colorful, high-visibility harness. So that other drivers or pet walkers can more easily see them in the dark winter evenings. Here’s a post where we cover some more points on safely walking your dog in the dark.
  • Keep an eye out for any leftover Christmas candy littering your pavements. If you’ve got a dog on a “see food” diet (aka, they see food and eat it), they might sneakily grab a bite when you’re not looking.

💡Worried your dog or cat might run off in the dark winter evening? Your Tractive device helps you locate them easily with an LED light or a high-pitched sound function instead. Perfect for areas with poor visibility.

Cattery owner and trainer, Clair Chesterman

“Tractive is my #1 recommendation when it comes to cat trackers. It’s specifically designed for tracking cats so you are sure that it is safe for your cats to use.”

– Clair Chesterman, Owner of CFA and CCA-registered cattery and fostering company, FluffyMeowPaws3

Track Your Pet In Real-Time

Don’t leave your pet alone (even while on holiday)

Leaving your pet alone at home over the holidays is just bad news. It increases their risk of engaging in destructive behaviors. (Like barking endlessly, whining, crying, chewing up your slippers, or peeing all over the house.) Making it even worse for dogs and cats with separation anxiety.

Read more: How long is too long when leaving your dog home alone

A pair of dogs looking outside a window decorated with a Christmas wreath

Besides, leaving your pet home alone over Christmas opens up the risk they might be dognapped, or kidnapped by pet thieves, over the holidays.3

  • According to the Kennel Club, there were nearly 2400 cases of dog theft in 2020 – a 7% increase since 2019.4
  • Similarly, the 2021 Cat Theft report indicates that cats’ risk of pet theft has tripled over the last 5 years. (Rising over 12% in the last year.)5

So always plan your Christmas break with a backup for your pets.

  • Get a friend, neighbor, or dog sitter to check up on them periodically.
  • Or drop them over at a loved one’s place or a pet boarding service, where they’ll be taken care of.
  • Better yet, try and plan your winter holiday with your dog or cat coming along! Many popular winter holiday destinations like Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are also pet-friendly.

💡Left your pet alone at home and want to ensure they stay home? Set up a virtual fence with your Tractive device. Now if your dog or cat tries to sneak out of a “safe zone”, you’ll immediately get an alert on your phone. So you can inform a neighbor to check up on them and make sure they aren’t trying to escape.

Protect Your Pet With Tractive

Plan ahead for an escape attempt

With all the reasons why dogs run away and why cats wander away from home, planning ahead is always a smart choice. Because even during Christmas, your pet might:

Which, with all the dangers outdoors in the cold winter months, can be life-threatening. (Especially if your dog or cat is younger, inexperienced, and vulnerable to predators, other pets, people, pet thieves, pesticides, poisonous plants, and more.) Snow can even mess with pets’ sense of smell and make it more difficult for them to sniff their way back home.

A cat perched on a wooden fence outdoors

In times like these, tracking your pets in real-time – and over an unlimited range – can be a lifesaver. It’s how Tractive pet parents around the world are keeping their buddies safe by tracking their location and following their every step.

Tractive Trustpilot review
Tractive Trustpilot review
Tractive pet monitoring GPS tracker

Always know where your pets are

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your pet too.

Discover GPS & Health Trackers For Pets

Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot

Bring on the Christmas fun this year – not run after your pets

‘Tis the season to be jolly – not jostling around tables and chairs (and guests) chasing down your dog or cat. So with these Christmas safety tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a safe, happy winter holiday with your pets.

  • Food. Stay informed on what foods are off-limits for dogs and toxic to cats. Make sure they’re well-fed in advance so they don’t feel the need to beg or sniff around your Christmas dinner.
  • Decor. Secure your ornaments and lights high up and out of reach of your pets’ paws. (And claws.) Attach your Christmas tree to a wall or a window to prevent a dog or cat from knocking it over.
  • Wrapping material. Be mindful of gift wrapping paper and candy wrappers lying around your house. Your dog or cat might choke on it if they swallow it by accident.
A cat sitting under a Christmas tree looking up at the lights
  • Costume. Opt for a comfortable, breathable costume for your pet. (If you absolutely have to.) Fitting costumes can make it difficult for them to breathe or move around easily.
  • Chill out time. Set up a safe area at home your dog or cat can retreat to when they need some alone time. Check up on them periodically to make sure they’re safe.
  • Get some outdoor time before the party. Tire out your pet with a long walk or vigorous playtime. Just make sure you’re visible to other pet parents or drivers. (So go for a high-visibility harness or vest.)
  • Never leave your pets home alone over the holidays. Besides stressing them out, they’re also vulnerable to pet thieves around this time.

And finally…

Pre-empt your pet’s escape attempts

Plan ahead for an escape artist dog or cat. With all the dangers outdoors, tracking their position in real-time and over an unlimited range can make all the difference between finding them safe and sound – or never seeing them again.

Besides, the feeling of coming home to find your buddy missing is never worth it – while the peace of mind from knowing you can follow their every step always is.

Cattery owner and trainer, Clair Chesterman

“Tractive is the #1 cat GPS tracker in the industry. And it’s the highest quality cat tracker you can find. I was able to set the safe zone as my house area and once my cat gets outside I get an alert right away. In fact, it probably saved my cat’s life that time she chased a bird and got lost. She was scared and I was able to find her with the help of the GPS tracker. Tractive’s chip frequently calculates your cat’s location and is updated on the map every 2-3 seconds. Furthermore, the LED will help you guard your furry friend at night.”

– Clair Chesterman, Owner of CFA and CCA-registered cattery and fostering company, FluffyMeowPaws

Track Your Pet With Tractive

And to wrap up, here are some more Christmas safety tips from the Cleveland Road Animal Hospital:

Find this post helpful? Then share it with a fellow pet parent – and let’s create a safer, happier Christmas for our pets this year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 🎄