Keeping Pets Safe During the Holidays

For most of us, our pets are part of the family. But it’s easy to forget that some holiday items can be toxic or dangerous to our furry friends.


For those of us that put up Christmas trees there’s always the danger of the tree tipping over—especially if it is given a little help from any cats in your home. Christmas trees with all their bright and shiny decorations are a natural magnet for any cat. Tinsel especially is a huge temptation. If swallowed, it can create an obstruction in the cat’s intestines or stomach which will cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of eating and eventually, a need for an emergency surgery to remove it. Stagnant tree water can also pose a threat to your pets, as it is a source of bacteria that can cause diarrhea and nausea when ingested.

Anything with batteries or electrical cords can pose a danger to our pets. Electrical cords can give an animal a potentially deadly shock. Batteries that have been punctured, by a pet’s sharp teeth for example, can cause bad burns in their mouths and esophagus.


Many popular holiday plants pose a serious threat to you pets’ health. Mistletoe and Holly can be a danger. Both plants, when eaten, can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Also, most varieties of Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Daffodils can be toxic to both cats and dogs—especially if the bulbs of the plant are ingested. The leaves of Poinsettias contain a sap that, when eaten, can irritate the tissues of the mouth and throat. This can be even more dangerous if the plant has been treated with a pesticide.

And, last, but not least, the popular Amaryllis is especially toxic to pets. Eating the plant, especially the bulb, can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors in both dogs and cats.

Many common house and garden plants are toxic to pets when eaten. The list is too long to include in this article. You can find more information on these varieties by doing a search on the internet. Consider switching to decorative plants made of silk or plastic to keep your animals safe.


Most people know that chocolate can pose a health danger to dogs, but did you know that eating raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs? Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs and can cause weakness, tremors and depression. Most nuts are just not good for dogs, even in small amounts.

Alcohol can pose a serious health risk to any of your pets. So can citrus fruits and plants. They can be a source of diarrhea and central nervous system depression. Coconut products and coconut water can really upset your pet’s stomach and should never be offered to them. Xylitol, a sweetener found in food that is growing in popularity, can be toxic to your pets. Check your food labels before giving your pet a taste.

It’s amazing how creative and enterprising our pets can be to get at all these goodies. It’s a good idea to go to some extra lengths during the holidays to keep our pets safe from all these temptations.

It takes just a moment for disaster to strike. Our pets give us so much joy throughout the year. It’s worth taking a little time to make your holiday festivities safe for your pets.