Holiday Pet Hazards

holiday pet dangers

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year for all involved: pets and humans alike. Some of our favorite things about this time of year are the decorations, food and festivities.

Our pets love all of these things as well and that’s why this time of year, requires extra safety precautions for our pets.

Christmas Trees


  • Keep clear of loose pine needles because if ingested they can puncture the intestinal wall.
  • Don’t add extra chemicals or additives to the water pot that the tree is in because if your pet drinks it, it could be fatal.


  • Don’t let the cats climb around in the Christmas tree due the fire hazards it may cause, a possible electrocution from chewing on the light wires or sharp objects which could hurt them , try using a repellent spray such as apple bitter, available at Petsmart, to spray around the tree.
  • Mount the tree to a secure wall for large dogs that have the infamous swinging tail and those cats that you just can’t keep from swinging on the tree branches.


Decorations are what makes the Christmas tree come alive but they can be more of a nuisance when it comes to our pets.

  • Try not to use glass ornaments because your pets may mistake them for toys and play with them. When ornament breaks, your pet could ingest the pieces causing internal issues or because they are glass and on the floor anyone could get hurt.
  • Don’t use tinsel. It can be deadly to our pets if ingested, so we recommend just leaving it off of the tree.

Lights & Candles

When it comes to young kittens and puppies, everything is free game for chew toys.

  • Christmas lights can cause electrocution and should be secured to the wall or covered with cord covers.
  • Be sure to keep those yummy smelling candles out of the reach of the swinging tail, dogs can knock them over with their tails causing a fire or getting burned badly. Never leave candles unattended or blow them out when leaving the room.

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants such as poinsettias, holly and mistletoe are poisonous to our pets.

  • Keep all holiday plants out of your pet’s reach or use an artificial alternative.
  • Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.
  • Many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. If you choose to decorate with these plants, keep them out of the reach of your pets or opt for the artificial version.

Read this article, for more on the dangers of toxic plants and the specific plants that are harmful to pets.

Holiday Treats

Let’s be honest, the food is one of the best parts about this time of year but not all foods are safe for your pets.

  • Make sure your pets stay on their normal diet and caution visitors to not feed your pet table scraps or treats.
  • Do not feed your pet turkey or chicken bones. These bones splinter and can get lodged in the intestinal wall requiring surgery.
  • Say no to giving your pet high fat foods such as gravies, potato latkes and poultry skins that may cause your pets to go into serious intestinal distress.
  • Keep specialty candies, nuts and treats out of your pet’s reach. Things like dark chocolate, candies and nuts can cause diarrhea, vomiting and obstruction in their throat or intestinal tract.

For a full list of toxic foods, visit VPI’s toxic food guide for pets.

Having Company

Tis the season for having your friends and family over but make sure you also keep a close eye on your pet.

  • Watch when guest come in and out that your sneaky pet does not slip out open doors. Since this is a likely situation make sure ahead of time, that your pet is properly collared and tagged. It would also be a good idea to have your pet micro-chipped so if they escape, it will be easier to find them.
  • Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and remind them that sometimes your normally friendly dog or cat may be less willing to deal with the enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people.
  • Provide a quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pets to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.

We at Pet Medical Center of Edmond wish you and your fur families a fun and safe holiday season.