Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

The cheerful holiday season is here! Before pulling out the tinsel and delicate ornaments to decorate your Christmas tree, please take a moment to read our blog on how to keep your furry friends jolly and SAFE during the holidays.

We all know that our furry family members love to lick and chew, and it can be quite surprising to find out just how many holiday items find their way into their mouths. Here are a few different items that you might want to consider keeping far out of your furry family member’s reach:

Tinsel & Ribbon

Tinsel sure looks pretty shimmering from the branches of our Christmas trees, and our cats think so, too! This is commonly used to decorate our tree over the holidays, but it can be very dangerous if ingested. It can become tangled in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, which can be fatal if left untreated.


Ornaments can look a lot similar to the toys we give to our dogs for fetching and chewing; it’s a bit of a no-brainer why our four-legged friends might be intrigued by the sparkly decorations hanging off our Christmas trees and decide to help themselves to one or two. These fragile ornaments can cause severe medical concerns once swallowed, so keep this in mind when decorating your Christmas tree, and consider placing them higher up on your tree where your pet can’t reach.

Turkey Bones

Turkey bones can cause serious injury to your pet if chewed or ingested. Cooked bones often splinter and break, while cooked and uncooked bones can get stuck in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, leading to blockages and emergency foreign body surgery.


Lighting a candle or two gives any room an instant holiday glow, but when left unattended, candles can burn your pet or start a fire if they are accidentally knocked over. Make sure that you place your candles on proper candle holders or stable surfaces away from your pet and that they are put out when you leave the room or house or go to bed.

Snow Globes

These circular displays are the quintessential winter decorative pieces. That being said, they can be potentially harmful to your furry pals. Snow globes are easily breakable, and broken glass can damage your pet’s mouth, throat, and stomach once swallowed. Antifreeze, which most snow globes contain, is also lethal for cats. It’s best to keep snow globes in a secure display area that your pet cannot get to.

Wrapping Paper

Preparing presents for your loved ones is one of the best parts of this time of year, and wrapping paper is a great way to show off your creativity. Whenever you are done wrapping or opening your gifts, please keep wrapping paper and ribbons away from your pets. If your pet eats these materials, it can cause gastrointestinal problems. They are also choking hazards for your pets. 

Sweet Treats

Chocolate is a well-known toxic dessert for our furry friends. In reality, most foods with sugar can be potentially dangerous for dogs, cats and other pets, so it is best to avoid them altogether. Sugar (and the sugar substitute xylitol found in “sugar-free” foods) can cause stomach pain, pancreatitis, liver failure and other serious health issues in your furry family member. Treats made specifically for pets are the safest option. Let other people in your household know about your no-sweets rule for your pets, and try to keep your pet away from the food table at all times. 

Festive Plants 

Plants add warmth to any space, and certain varieties have become Christmastime staples. Unfortunately, many of these plants are toxic for your pet and can cause serious reactions such as upset stomach, slow heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea and even kidney failure. Some plants you should avoid are poinsettia, mistletoe, ivy, lilies, amaryllis and holly. 

Fairy Lights 

Whether on your tree, doorways, or other areas of your home, it’s important to double-check that your Christmas lights are securely fastened and that electrical wiring is out of reach from your pets. While an electric shock can be uncomfortable for humans, furry friends are particularly vulnerable to electrocution and can sustain serious burns and internal organ damage from shocks.

To prevent a visit to your nearest emergency veterinary hospital, please be mindful this holiday season when decking the halls of your home.

Have a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Petroglyph Animal Hospital!