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HolidayPet Safety

Top 10 Holiday Dangers for Pets

By December 15, 2015 No Comments

Be sure you and your pets have a happy, safe holiday season by being aware of the following common holiday dangers.


Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments

While they may not be toxic, if chewed or swallowed, they can cause a foreign body obstruction requiring surgery.

Holiday Lights and Candles

Animals may chew light cords resulting in electrical shock, causing lacerations and even death.  Candles within reach can cause serious burns and pose a fire risk.

Gift Wrap Ribbon

Pose choking hazard and foreign body obstruction if swallowed.

Food Hazards

Many popular holiday goodies are not so good for pets.

  • Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmia, tremors and seizures.
  • Fat trimmings and bones.  Fat can cause pancreatitis and bones are a choking hazard.
  • Cookies, candies and some nuts (almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios) can cause upset stomach or obstruct throat and/or intestines. Macadamia nuts or moldy walnuts can be toxic, causing seizures or neurological issues. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion.
  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currents (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure.


A common sugar substitute found in sugar-free gum, candy, baked goods and some peanut butter. This sugar substitute causes a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar levels that cause death. If the pet survives, it can cause liver failure and bleeding disorders.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, and collapse.

Toxic Holiday Plants

  • A single leaf or bite from any lily variety is lethal to cats.
  • Christmas tree pine needles can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling, and posterior weakness.
  • Holly can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression when ingested.
  • Mistletoe ingestion can cause significant vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and even death.
  • Poinsettia can cause mouth and stomach irritation and sometimes vomiting.

Christmas Tree

Securely anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip and fall causing possible injuries. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria causing nausea and diarrhea.


Alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Imported Snow Globes

Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol). As little as 1 teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or dog can be fatal (depending on size).

Liquid Potpourri or Scented Oils

Heating liquid potpourri or scented oils in a simmer pot can cause serious harm to your pet.  Just a lick can result in severe chemical burns, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors.

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