Winter Holiday Hazards for Pets


This holiday season, no one likes an emergency trip to the veterinarian, especially your furry pal! So make this Christmas a memorable and safe holiday by knowing some of the most common winter holiday hazards for pets.

Hazards around the Tree

  • Wrapped Presents – If you are giving the gift of food this holiday season, especially chocolate, be sure to keep these items off the floor and out of reach of your furry friends.
  • Ribbons and Tinsel – Beautiful but deadly, ribbons and tinsel can easily be ingested by pets and cause a potentially fatal intestinal blockage. Keep ribbons and tinsel out of reach or better yet, don’t use them at all.
  • Glass Ornaments – If ingested, glass can cut the lining of your pet’s mouth, throat, and stomach. If stepped on, they can slice through the paw pad with ease.
  • Christmas Tree Water – Some water may contain fertilizers which can cause gastrointestinal upset and might lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep the water covered and keep fresh water available.
  • Batteries – Lots of new toys can mean lots of batteries! Batteries contain corrosive elements that can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and throughout the gastrointestinal system. Be sure batteries are kept in a safe place, away from pets.

Hazardous Holiday Plants

  • Poinsettia – This plant is very over-rated in toxicity; Poinsettias may cause irritation in the mouth and stomach and can cause mild vomiting if ingested but they are not lethal to pets.
  • Lilies– Lilies are a beautiful but potentially deadly flower used in holiday arrangements. Some types of lilies (Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter and Casa Blanca) can cause kidney failure and death in cats with ingestion of just a few petals.
  • Mistletoe – This plant may bring back pleasant memories to you but it can cause cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal upset in your pets.
  • Holly – ¬†Holly may be nice to look at but can cause nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea if ingested by your pet.

Foods on the Naughty List

These holiday foods should definitely be avoided this Christmas unless your pet asked Santa for a trip to your veterinarian’s office.

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate (baker’s semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
  • Coffee
  • Onions
  • Fatty foods (gravy, turkey skin)
  • Salt
  • Yeast Dough

Not Always a Winter Wonderland

  • Antifreeze tastes sweet to pets and very small amounts can be lethal. Be sure to clean up spills thoroughly and store antifreeze in air-tight containers, out of reach of pets. Other automotive products, such as gasoline and oil, should be stored in the same manner and made inaccessible to pets. A brand of antifreeze called Low Tox contains propylene glycol and is advised as a safe alternative for pet owners.
  • Ice melting products may be irritating to your pet’s mouth and gastrointestinal system. The type of symptoms visible depend on the ingredients of the product; some signs of ingestion would be drooling, depression, and vomiting. They make ice melt products, such as Safe Paw, that are safe for pets, children, and the environment.
  • Rat and mouse killers are used more frequently in colder weather. Always keep baited traps out of reach of all pets.

Be Prepared for all Holiday Hazards

Always be prepared in case of an emergency and have telephone numbers for you primary veterinarian, local emergency veterinary clinic, and the ASPCA Control Center (1-888-4 ANI-HELP) in an easily accessible area. If you suspect your furry friend has ingested a toxin or poison, get medical help immediately.

Your friends at Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic are wishing you a Merry (and accident-free) Christmas to you and your furry family members!