Holidays and Your Pets: Avoiding Common Hazards

Holidays and Your Pets: Avoiding Common Hazards

32335000 - dog and cat and kitens wearing a santa hatThe holiday seasons is exciting but also chaotic and busy, so while you are planning to make turkey dinner, purchase presents, and travel to visit family, it’s also important to protect your pet from common winter hazards. Everything from chocolate to tinsel can be dangerous to your pet, so simple precautions will help to make your holidays much more enjoyable for all.

Hide the Chocolate

You already know that chocolate is dangerous for your pet, but there tends to be an abundance of chocolate around the holidays that you may not even notice. Chocolate coins, baking bricks, and luxury gifts like chocolate-covered espresso beans and macadamia nuts may be lying within easy reach of your pet, and if he gets ahold of them, he will suffer from an unhealthy dose of methylxanthines. Keep all chocolate in high cabinets to avoid this problem, but in the case of an emergency, dial the Pet Poison Helpline immediately and then head to the vet.


Like chocolate, alcohol is more ubiquitous during the holidays. Your holiday guests would never let your pet sip their wine or beer, but accidents happen, especially since many desserts include alcohol. Your pet’s stomach acts like an oven that metabolizes yeast into ethanol and carbon dioxide, which can lead to alcohol poisoning and excessive bloating. Warn guests if any desserts include alcohol, and make sure all glasses stay off low tables.


It isn’t hard to find a funny video of a cat knocking down a Christmas tree in an effort to reach the tinsel, but those videos make a serious point about cat safety. Tinsel is very thin, and if ingested by a cat will wrap itself around the intestines or ball up in the stomach. If you have a cat, just avoid tinsel altogether to prevent any problems. The same goes for holiday ornaments, which usually have sharp edges that can cause lacerations in the mouth if your pet tries to use them as a chew toy.

With just a few measures of prevention, your pet can stay safe and happy during the holiday season.

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