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Pet-Friendly Holidays

As published in Flagstaff Sedona Dog Magazine

By Kristy Meyers, Penny Lane Photography

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I am so thankful for the community I have, the career I love, and the craziness that's coming to an end. But before it does, here is a timely article to prepare you for your holiday celebrations, together with your furry family members.


It has been quite the year, but there are still some milestones yet to come. With the upcoming holiday season, there are practical precautions to consider on behalf of your furry family members. Many things are common sense such as avoiding access to dangerous decorations, sensitive electronics, and toxic treats! Here is a quick breakdown to keep your pets safe all the way into 2021:

Howl-O-Ween Fun: The holiday season starts with costumes, treats, late nights, and big scares – but your furry family members should not feel spooked! Remember that dressing up your pet, or yourself, can end up causing more harm than good. If your pets seem agitated, consider other ideas for costumes, or an alternative to Halloween apparel. It may also help to consider the amount of new faces arriving at your door when planning for the occasion. The ASPCA recommends keeping your pets in a separate room and away from all doors during peak hours of trick-or-treating to avoid their distress or escape attempts. Speaking of trick-or-treating, always remember the toxins in chocolate and many sugar-free candies when leaving out your treats. In case of emergency, the ASPCA Poison Control Center can always be reached at (888) 426-4435.

Thanks-Giving Treats: Thanksgiving is a wonderful season to reflect on your blessings and enjoy a feast together. Your pups would love to be included in the annual feast, but never give your furry family members undercooked breads or meats and remember that turkey bones can be especially problematic for the digestive tract. Instead, consider preparing your pets their own special Thanksgiving meal. Sweet potato and green beans are especially healthy for dogs, and there are many made-for-pets chews as an alternative to human food (ASPCA, 2020). Be careful not to allow your pets to overindulge which can lead to other gastrointestinal issues or inflammatory conditions… but try to find a way to include them in this delicious day! After all, many of us are most thankful for these beloved companions!

Big Slobbery Kiss-Mas: It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except if it ends with a tragic trip to the veterinarian! Did you know that holly, mistletoe, and even tinsel can cause serious medical issues in pets? Consider artificial plants on your mantel, avoid the sparkly decorations, and beware of the issues potentially caused by decorating your Christmas tree this year. Instead, plan for more pet-friendly decorations and even hang a small stocking on the mantel to fill with treats and toys for them!

If you think you must be mindful about your holiday eating, imagine the issues you will have on your hand if your pup eats the wrong things! The ASPCA has a page, “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” if you ever have your doubts. As we approach the winter festivities and your schedule fills with festive fun, be careful to maintain your pet’s routines as well as their normal dietary considerations. This will make your season even more joyful in the end.

New Dog-Years’ Eve: When you prepare to pop the cork and ring in the new year, remember to go easy on behalf of your furry companions. Champagne and other cocktails, confetti, late nights, and especially fireworks can be harmful to your pet’s health and wellness. New Years’ Eve can be a stressful holiday, especially after an already busy season of celebrations. When you make plans and craft resolutions, it is wise to think about the pets in your home.

At this point, you understand the importance of considering your pets as you plan holidays. This may sound like quite the cautionary article, but with some considerations you can ensure an incredible season for all. There are many festivities around the corner for us to finish the year with lighter spirits, but we all have responsibilities as well. Spend your time with loved ones. Enjoy the special occasions. Set resolutions. Indulge a little. But not at the expense of your beloved pets. Keep them safe this year indoors or in a quieter space, far from the dangerous décor, and away from all those toxic treats. Beware the holiday horrors that can occur when they stick their nose into your celebrations.

Kristy Meyers is the owner and photographer for Penny Lane Photography, where she specializes in pets, portraits, and more. Kristy’s premiere pet photography beautifully captures the bond between human and their beloved pet. You can find her portfolio and more about her on Facebook, Instagram, or online at

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