How to Protect your Pet During the Holiday Season

Holiday Treats

Not only are holiday treats a danger to our waistline, they can be potentially fatal to our pet’s life.


  • The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is
  • Can cause vomiting, diarrhea seizures, increased heart rate, coma and death


  • Sugar substitute
  • Found in certain sugar-free products
  • Ex: sugar-free gum, certain peanut butter, candy, baking products
  • Causes a severe decrease in blood sugar levels
  • Symptoms: severe depression, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma (Hodgkins)

Grapes and Raisins

  • Causes kidney failure

Onions and garlic

  • Large amounts cause anemia (low number of red blood cells) (Hodgkins)

Holiday Decor

Yes, holiday decor can be fun and festive but to your pets, it may be unfavorable or fatal.


  • Contrary to belief these plants are mildly toxic to dogs and cats
  • Symptoms: mild vomiting, drooling, and uncommonly; diarrhea (“Poinsettias Poisonous to Cats, Dogs – Toxicity of Poinsettias to Pets.”)

Mistletoe and holly

  • Small amounts may cause GI upset
  • Large amounts can cause seizures, abnormal gait, collapse and death


  • Extremely toxic, especially to cats
  • Causes kidney failure from just one or two bites

Tree ornaments/ gift wrapping

  • Avoid using tinsel for your tree, and put wrapped gifts containing ribbon in a place that cannot be accessed because these look like fun toys to your cats
  • Can cause intestinal blockage and perforation of the GI tract

Christmas Tree

  • Ensure your tree is securely anchored to alleviate problem of a pet knocking it over and causing injury
  • The water additive for Christmas trees can be irritating to the GI tract and cause vomiting/ diarrhea (“Holiday Safety Tips”.)
  • Make sure any electrical wires or ornaments are as inaccessible as possible due to burns and intestinal obstruction/ irritation (“Holiday Safety Tips.”)

Freezing Temperatures

Anti-freeze (Ethylene Glycol)

  • Sweet tasting to pets
  • Rapidly absorbed
  • Causes irreversible, severe kidney failure which can lead to death

Salt on driveways and roads

  • Irritating to dog’s paws and can be poisonous if it is eaten
  • If your dog cooperates putting “booties” on them is not a bad idea
  • Rinsing off their paws and wiping them after being in contact with the salt will also help (Castillo)

Battling the cold

  • For small, short-haired dogs that have a small amount of body fat it can be difficult for them to retain heat
  • Provide them with some warmth and comfort by dressing them in a jacket (Castillo)




Castillo, Michelle. “How to keep your dog safe in cold, snowy weather.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 10 Feb. 2014,

Hodgkins, Christine . “Toxic and non-Toxic foreign bodies.” Emergencies. Clinical Experience II, 11 Apr. 2016, Leicester , Borger Academic Building, Becker College.

 “Holiday Safety Tips.” ASPCA,

“Poinsettias Poisonous to Cats, Dogs – Toxicity of Poinsettias to Pets.” Pet Poison Helpline, 30 July 2012,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *