Holiday Pet Safety

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Hey kids, there are lots of fun things going on during the holidays. Your house may have decorations, plants, and foods that usually aren't around the rest of the year. Some of these holiday items can be dangerous for your pets and you can help protect them.

Christmas Trees

Everyone likes to see lights twinkling on a Christmas tree, but light cords and extension cords can be dangerous if a cat or dog decides to chew on them. Keep cords tucked away, so pets will leave them alone. 

Pets may be drawn to food ornaments and decorations like homemade gingerbread men, popcorn garland, or candy canes. While these foods are okay for people, they might make your pets sick. If you want to decorate with these things, place them up high on the tree where your pets can’t get at them.

Tinsel and Ribbons

Cats love to play with shiny tinsel and ribbon, but if swallowed, tinsel can get tangled in their stomachs and make them very ill. If you have a cat, don’t decorate with tinsel and pick up the ribbons after gifts are unwrapped.


Lots of families like to have poinsettias, holly, or mistletoe around the house for the holidays. Most pets won’t bother with them, but these plants can make animals sick. If you see your pet eat one of these plants, have an adult call a veterinarian to find out what to do.


During the holidays, you may get small toys or toys that have small pieces. Dogs and cats are curious; they like to put things in their mouths. They don’t know that small toys are dangerous. Remember to put your toys away when you are finished playing. 

Table Scraps

You may want to give your pets some table scraps from the holiday meal, but when animals eat fatty foods, it can make their stomachs upset. Only feed them pet food.

Dogs love turkey, chicken, and steak bones, but they can be sharp and cause cuts inside a dog’s stomach. Make sure bones go in the garbage and not in your dog.

Human Treats

Did you know chocolate and some sugar-free mints and gum can make dogs ill? Don’t leave candy where dogs can get to it. If your pet eats chocolate, sugar-free mints, or gum, have an adult call a veterinarian.

Pet Treats

It is fun to give your pet treats for a stocking stuffer, but even pet treats can cause problems for animals. Some treats can get stuck in a dog or cat’s throat. Too many treats may make them sick. If you want to give your pet a treat, keep the pieces small and don’t give them too much at once.

Cold Weather

Even though dogs and cats have fur to keep them warm, a pet left outside without shelter for too long in the cold weather could be dangerous. On days when it is very cold, make sure your pet is somewhere safe and warm.

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Page last updated: May 1st, 2017