Friends, family, lights, jingle bells, baked cookies, and gifts: the list of reasons to smile as Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years’ approach goes on and on. As you fill up on leftover turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie, it’s a good time to start prepping your home for the holidays while keeping some safety tips in mind to help your pet stay safe.

5 Hidden Dangers to Keep Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

The last thing you want to do is scramble to the veterinary emergency room with your pet on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. To avoid any accidents and protect your pet, pay attention to these dangers that pet parents often overlook.

1. Skip the Cutesy Costumes and Supervise Your Pet

Is your pet Santa’s #1 helper? Does he need the elf ears and hat to prove it? He likely does not need the costume to show off how adorable he is! Those antlers with the elastic band or pointy elf shoes with the jingle bells can pose a choking hazard for your pet.

Cats and dogs can get tangled in the straps used to affix these costumes to your pet. They can also choke on the bells or sequins. And glitter can scratch your pet’s eyes.

Want that adorable picture? We suggest you choose costumes with fewer ties and accessories. Only dress your pet up for the minimum amount of time to snap your pictures and don’t leave your pet unattended while wearing the costume.

2. Many Holiday Foods Are Not Pet-Friendly

Your pet knows you’re a great chef. You don’t need to share your leftovers with him to prove it. In fact, many Christmas and Hanukkah dishes can be dangerous and poisonous for your pet.

Many recipes call for grapes, raisins, chocolate, or garlic. You may already know these are also dangerous for dogs. But did you know that macadamia nuts, xylitol, onions, and alcohol can make your dog and cat very sick as well?

What ingredients are alright to treat your dog within moderation? Some of our favorites include:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Eggs

Just remember that too much disruption if your pet’s diet can upset his stomach and cause diarrhea or vomiting.

3. Gift Wrap, Ribbon, and Decorations

Gift wrap, ribbon, and decorations make your home glow. Unfortunately, they also pose a risk for curious and mischievous pets. Which decorative elements should you keep out of reach of your kitty, puppy, or other pet?

Ornament hangers: Both plastic and metal hangers are sharp and can cause a rupture if swallowed. They can also pinch, cut, or scrape your pet’s mouth, eyes, or paws.

Ribbons: Ribbons and bows present a hazard if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has swallowed ribbon or string, it requires a trip to us or the pet ER.

Gift-wrap: Pets are drawn to crinkle and sparkle of wrapping paper. And some pets even indulge in nibbling on it and ruining the surprise of what’s beneath. Swallowing wrapping paper can make your pet ill.

4. Open Doors

As guests arrive and leave, pets can sneak out the door without being noticed. To avoid letting your pet go on the lam, keep doors closed and caution guests to be careful as possible when entering and leaving.

Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If not, now’s a great time to get him chipped in cases he sneaks out. If he is microchipped, be sure your contact information is current.

5. Candles and Cords

Getting all those lights lit can be quite a challenge. You likely have extension cords running all over the house. And those Hankunka candles offer warmth as you celebrate the festivities.

If this is the case, keep those cords away from pets. They’re a tripping hazard and can be fatal if your pet bites one. A playful pet can also damage a cord, creating a fire hazard.

As for candles, we do see burnt noses this time of year. Try out battery-powered candles to keep your pet safe.

6. Flowers and Plants

Many pet parents know that poinsettia is mildly poisonous for pets. Holly, mistletoe, and your Christmas tree are toxic, as well. How can you still bask in the beauty of these plants? Opt for artificial or keep them out of reach of your pet.

7. Pet Stress and Fireworks

Finally, your pet’s physical safety is important. So is his psychological health and wellbeing. Keep in mind pets experience stress and anxiety this time of year. The worst culprit of anxiety is New Year’s fireworks.

Prepare for fireworks and commotion by giving your pet his anxiety prescription before the fireworks start or guests arrive.

Don’t Let Pet Dangers Put a Damper on Your Holiday

Our pets fill the holidays with a little extra joy and love. Keep the merriment in the holiday by keeping your pet safe this year. We hope this list can assist with your holiday setup and pet safety checklist! Should you find yourself in a pet emergency, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (540) 955-2171.


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