A Warning to Pet Owners: The Potentially Dangerous TikTok Trend of Taking Pets to Christmas Lights
The festive season brings joy and cheer, but a concerning trend has emerged on TikTok, raising red flags for pet safety. Dr. Anna Foreman, an in-house vet at the U.K.-based Everypaw Pet Insurance, has issued a warning to pet owners regarding a potentially “dangerous” trend involving taking companion animals to visit Christmas lights.
The Trend and Its Risks
Pet owners have been capturing videos of their beloved animals in the car while driving around Christmas lights displays. While this may seem innocent, Dr. Foreman warns that subjecting pets to long car journeys, particularly if they are anxious or unaccustomed to travel, can pose serious risks to their well-being.
She emphasized the importance of understanding that cats, in particular, do not have the awareness to comprehend Christmas and its associated festivities, making them susceptible to stress and discomfort in the face of changes, noise, and heightened activity.
Instances of this concerning trend have been observed across the U.S, with videos amassing millions of views on TikTok. One video features a cat named Sadie sitting in the front seat as her owner drives around a Christmas attraction in southern Kentucky. Another clip shows a pit bull and a golden retriever witnessing Christmas lights from inside a car.
Warning Signs and Cautions
Dr. Foreman outlined several indicators that suggest a pet is struggling or uncomfortable with lights, emphasizing the need for pet owners to be mindful of signs of distress. She also highlighted the importance of early exposure to noise, visual stimuli, and new experiences for young animals to mitigate fear and anxiety in unfamiliar situations.
Impact of Lockdowns
Dr. Foreman shed light on the challenges posed by lockdowns and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which hindered the controlled and positive exposure of animals to new phenomena during their formative years. This, she explained, has led to a generation of animals, particularly dogs, struggling to cope in unfamiliar environments.
The trend of taking pets to view Christmas lights while in a car may appear harmless, but it carries significant risks to the well-being of our beloved companions. As pet owners, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and comfort of our animals, refraining from subjecting them to potentially distressing situations for the sake of social media content. Let’s celebrate the holiday season in ways that ensure the well-being of our furry friends remains a top priority.