Holiday Hazards For Your Pet

Dec 16, 2016

It is that magical time of year again and we are all trying our best to get ready for the holiday season. Often, we get so caught up in it that sometimes we can forget or overlook holiday hazards regarding our pets. Here are a few things to keep mind to keep your fur babies safe.


Everyone is probably decorating their house with poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and lilies in flower arrangements. Please keep your pets in mind when doing so.

• Poinsettias, if ingested, will cause mouth and stomach irritation along with vomiting and diarrhea.

• Mistletoe can be very toxic if ingested. Some varieties can cause heart problems along with gastrointestinal issues.

• Holly can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested.

• Lilies ( Stargazer, Tiger, Asian, Easter and Show) if consumed can cause kidney failure in cats.

The Christmas Tree:

There can (and are) a lot of hazards on or around a Christmas tree. Here are just a few.

• Tree water... there are a lot of things people put in their tree water to extend the tree’s life, but a lot of additives, especially commercial ones, can be toxic to your animal. Please read the warning labels! Also, towards the end of the season when the tree is taking less water, that standing water could become a home to a lot of ill-causing bacteria. Bad news for a thirsty pet.

• Electrical cords... It’s the season for them! Do your best to cover your drop cords with throw rugs and tape if you’re outdoors. Pets, especially younger ones, find them fascinating to chew on.

• Glass ornaments. They’re shiny, fragile and very tempting to some pets. Do your best to discourage your animal from playing around the tree and if an ornament breaks, clean it up immediately.

• Tinsel ... Cats love to play with this. This has the potential to cause an intestinal obstruction.

• Potpourri especially in a warmer, can cause skin and eye issues along with possibly being an intestinal obstruction if eaten dry potpourri.

Another item I would like to mention are social gatherings. And what’s a nice smelling, potpourri’d house without some friends and family to share it with? When having company, be aware that some foods do not mix well with animals. Even though you may know this, visitors may not and offer left-overs to your pet.

Common foods to stay away from are: onions, grapes, raisins and chocolate. To be quite honest, though, I have found the best practice is to keep my pets either in a crate or in a separate room. It makes the get together simpler and stress-free.

I hope I have helped make your holiday a little safer for you and your pet. As crazy as this time of year can get, avoiding mishaps with our pets can make all the difference in a less stressful holiday season. If you should need us, please call or come in. If you should need them the ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 is there 24-hours a day. Hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Dr. Ashlie Hill