The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reminds pet owners of ways to keep their pets safe this holiday season:

  • Avoid feeding people food to pets. Pets cannot enjoy all of the same foods and treats we do. Fatty foods (turkey, meat fat and gravy) can cause pancreatitis. Also, chocolate, grapes/raisins, onions and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum) can be poisonous to pets.


  • Keep holiday decorations out of reach. Sparkly ornaments, tinsel and lights make for a beautiful display and can engage pet curiosity. If consumed, these items could cause intestinal blockages or other injuries. Be sure these items are out of their reach, along with candles and certain festive plants, like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias. 


  • Make sure pets have proper identification. With all the holiday activities, pets can easily sneak out and get lost. Make sure pets have identification tags and their microchips are updated with your current contact information, to ensure they can be returned home.


  •  Have a quiet space for your pets. Holiday celebrations can be loud and overly stimulating for pets. It is important to have a quiet space set aside for your pet to go, if they are getting too stressed. Also, have the room stocked with their food, water, litter pan, etc., in case they want to maintain their distance for an extended period of time.


  • Ensure your pet is fit for travel. If you will be traveling with your pets this holiday season, talk with your veterinarian to determine what steps, documents or preventive care might be required to ensure your pet is ready to go. Destination states, countries, commercial carriers and even lodging facilities can each have different requirements for when your pets accompany you.