Keeping Pets Safe During the Holidays

Guarding Your Pets Against Holiday Hazards

This time of year is fun and festive, but can also be very dangerous to our four-legged friends. From tempting flickering candle flames and sparkling tree lights to potentially toxic holiday foods and beverages, be aware of these holiday hazards to save your pet an expensive emergency vet visit.


  • Holiday tinsel and ornaments can be ingested. It’s best to avoid glass ornaments around cats especially.
  • Wagging tails and curious paws around flickering flames can pose a serious risk. Also beware of electrical shock for pets who like to chew those sparkling lights.
  • Gift wrap ribbon can quickly become a choking hazard.
  • Holiday plants are pretty, but some are also poisonous, even deadly to pets. Avoid lilies, which are lethal to cats, as well as Christmas tree pine needles, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.
  • While that Santa suite may seem like a festive, photo-worthy idea, pet costumes can stress your pet out. Make sure they do not hinder movement, hearing, sight, breathing or the ability to bark or meow. Also remove any dangling pieces that could be chewed off and cause your pet to choke. Exploratory surgery does not make the holidays brighter for your pets or your wallet.

Food and Beverage Hazards

  • Depending on the type and amount of chocolate, dogs might experience everything from vomiting to heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. The darker and richer, the more toxic.
  • Fat trimmings may seem like a nice treat, but can cause upset stomach and pancreatitis.
  • Bones pose choking risk and can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations.
  • Tin foil is tasty and tempting to lick, but if it’s ingested, it doesn’t show up on x-rays and can harm the digestive track.
  • Lots of holiday cookies and desserts are made with nuts, and lots of nuts are can upset animals’ stomachs. Keep animals away from almonds, pistachios, and macadamia nuts.
  • Alcohol is still a no-no for pets. Intoxicated pets can suffer from vomiting, seizures, coma, and even death.
  • Bottom line is it’s best to keep your pet on regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps.

Stress and Strangers

  • Constant door bell ringing, strangers (we call them family and friends) and a crowded house can stress your pets out. Consider a quiet room filled with toys, safe pet treats and fresh water. This also prevents any possible escapes.
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