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Holiday Pet Hazards

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

While the holidays are a fun time for everyone, not all the festivities are good for your pet.

The holidays can be exciting with all the visitors, the food, the decorations and all those new toys! But hidden behind the festivities are some holiday pet hazards. Be on the lookout!

  • Leftover bones. Some dogs know how to flip open garbage can lids and jump onto tables, so don’t leave bones where your pet can get to them. If chewed and eaten they can lodge in the throat, stomach and anywhere along the digestive tract causing tears and even fatal injuries.
  • Leftovers foods.  The amount of fat in holiday food is very high, something dog’s digestive systems cannot tolerate, so watch out for those treats and keep it away from your pet.

  • Holly and mistletoes, two holiday favorites for decorating, are extremely poisonous if eaten.
  • Poinsettias can cause severe gastric distress.
  • Christmas tree branches are especially dangerous as pine needles can cause severe puncture wounds in your pet’s intestines.  Make sure your tree is well anchored because some cats like to climb and some puppies like to jump up to the garland and can topple the tree onto themselves. Pets can also get strangled in the garland if they jump into it so keep it of the bottom branches.
  • Christmas tree water.  Don’t put anything in the tree water as dogs and cats can drink this and suffer severe gastric distress.
  • Glass decorations.  Breakable glass ornaments and globes as well as dreidles and tinsel should be kept or strung out of pets reach to safeguard him from swallowing.

Electrical Cords
  • As with all electrical cords, you want to try to secure them to the floor and wall using clips or even tape.  If it is hidden pets can’t chew cords and risk electrocution.  
  • Tree lights and other decorations need to be secured to avoid strangulation.


  • Lit candles should never be left unattended and should never be left at eye level of dogs, cats or toddlers! A swat of the tail or a banging table and that candle is on can cause serious burns and even set the whole house on fire!

Stress and Strangers
  • Strangers. The holidays usually bring lots of visitors, which can disturb their normal routines and cause pets to become territorial . Be sure to remember your pets during the holidays and keep walks and play time consistent so your pet knows everything is ok.
  • Open door dangers.  Check up on pet tags and collars making sure everything is complete because with all the comings and goings, doors can be left open just long enough for pets to escape and get lost.  Also tails and feet can get caught in all the commotion.
  • Children.  Keep a watchful eye on all the children as you may need to protect your pet from some that play too rough and have not been taught pet respect.

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