Pet Safety for the Holidays

When it comes to the holidays, people make plans to visit relatives, have relatives visit them, coordinate holiday shopping, and cook holiday meals for the family. One thing that tends to not be on everyone’s mind as much is the safety of their pets. Below are some of the poisonous plants, food, and other issues to avoid to ensure that your pet has a happy holiday season as well.

Keep your pets safe with this list of dangerous holiday items for pets.

Dangerous plants for cats and dogs


Mistletoe is a popular plant at Christmastime. Despite its use for holiday romances, it can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.


Lilies are a beautiful flower, but they are also no good for your pets. Lilies can cause kidney failure in both cats and dogs.


It won’t be much of a holly, jolly Christmas if your pet gets sick from this plant. Holly causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats and dogs.


Poinsettias are a distinctive red flower commonly seen around the holidays. However, this too can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.

Poinsettias are a distinctive red flower commonly seen around the holidays. However, this too can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.

Pine Christmas Trees

Pine Christmas Trees can cause liver damage in cats and even death. To avoid this, it would be best to procure a spruce Christmas tree.


Azaleas are cute flowers that come in many colors. However, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs and causes diarrhea, vomiting, even cardiac failure.


Potpourri has fragrances and oils toxic to canines and there could be detergents used in the manufacturing process.

Dangerous Foods For Cats And Dogs


Small amounts, depending on size, will cause vomiting and diarrhea. Larger amounts, depending on size, will cause seizures, internal bleeding, muscle tremors, or a heart attack.


While safe for most people, it can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs. In cats, it also causes low blood sugar and eventually liver failure as well.

Grapes and Raisins

This one might be a surprise, but grapes and raisins are highly toxic and there is no proven amount that is safe.


With onions, the toxins build up in their system with repeated onion exposure and cause sickness, or death, by destroying the red blood cells.

Other Safety Issues

Christmas Tree

Be sure to secure the tree in a corner. To deter pets from the tree, hang a lemon-scented car freshener in the lower part of the tree to keep cats from climbing. Also, placing aluminum foil around the base keeps the pet away and alerts you. To prevent entanglement and electrocution, don’t put lights on lower branches. Tinsel can be chewed and swallowed, which leads to an obstructed digestive tract and potential surgery.

Open Flame

Don’t leave your pet in a room with an open flame, such as menorahs, candles, etc.


Alcohol should be off-limits to pets anyway but keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t try to drink out of anyone’s glass when they aren’t looking.


Pets get gifts during the holidays too. Typically, avoid giving them anything small enough to be digested, especially toys stuffed with beads or beans. Take off plastic eyes or noses on toy mice and other toys.

Too Much Excitement

Pets can get overwhelmed by all of the extra activity and may act out by growling, especially with people they may not know that well. Provide a quiet place where they can relax until they feel calm enough to rejoin the activities. Don’t be upset if your pet feels the need to take multiple breaks, or even not rejoin the group at all.

Keeping your pet safe during the holidays means that the holidays are more enjoyable for both humans and pets. Making your pets feel safe is also important. If they do not feel safe, such as a place for them to escape to if they are feeling overwhelmed, then they can act out against people, or generally cause trouble and get into the very thing that can make them sick.

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