Holiday Hazards

The holidays are special times during the year when families and friends come together in celebration. Unfortunately, many pet owners fail to recognize the potential dangers that these special occasions pose. Below are some basic holiday items that could potentially cause serious harm to your pet.

Many types of flowers and plants that are found in the bouquets are harmful to dogs and cats.

Fake Grass
This colorful “grass” may look appetizing to your pet, but actually poses a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard if ingested.

Small Toys and Other Plastic Items
If swallowed, small toys and plastic easter eggs can cause your pet to choke or even damage their intestinal tract.

Fireworks not only scare pets and cause them to run off, but they can also cause serious injuries if detonated near your dog or cat. Many formulations can be potentially toxic to pets if ingested as well.

Some pets, specifically black cats, have become victims of torture and abuse during Halloween, so be sure to keep your pet indoors.

Pets are naturally curious, and may be attracted to the bright lights of the flame in dark areas. Dogs and cats could either burn themselves by the flame or knock the candle over, starting a fire.

Candy or gum sweetened with xylitol is toxic and should be kept away from your pet.

All forms of chocolate can be harmful to your pet, potentially resulting in poisoning or even pancreatic inflammation from the high fat content.

Turkey, chicken and other small animal bones are very different from the large bones you find at the pet store. These small bones splinter easily and can cause serious internal damage if swallowed, so NEVER give them to your pet.

Hot Containers
Your dog or cat will most likely become curious when they smell something cooking. Keep an eye on hot containers so that your pet does not tip them over, causing severe burns.

Holiday Plants
The following holiday plants are toxic to cats and dogs: Christmas rose, Holly, Lilies and Mistletoe.

Sure it may look adorable, but placing a ribbon around your pet’s neck may cause them to choke.

Bubbling Lights
Older forms of this attractive decoration may contain methylene chloride, which is a highly toxic chemical.

Fire Salts
Contain chemicals that could be harmful to pets.

Angel Hair (spun glass)
Can be irritating to eyes and skin, and could cause intestinal obstruction if eaten in large amounts.

Christmas Tree Water
Stagnant tree water or water containing preservatives could result in stomach upset if ingested.

Decoration Hooks
Can cause blockage and/or trauma to gastrointestinal tract if swallowed.

Can cause your dog or cat to choke if swallowed.

These can look like toys to your cat or dog, so keep them out of your pet’s reach so they don’t pose a risk of injury.

Can cause choking or internal trauma if swallowed.

Balloons and Confetti
These are among the common items used to decorate a New Year’s party venue, but can pose an obstruction or choking hazard to your pet if ingested. Be sure to keep an eye on them when they around these items or place them in an area that does not have decorations.

Loud Noises
New Year’s is typically a noisy holiday. Unfortunately, loud noises frighten pets and can cause them to run off. Keep your pet in a separate room, away from noisemakers, music and other loud sounds that may startle them.

Alcoholic beverages are toxic to pets and should never be given to your dog or cat.

(Resource: Petshealth Care Plan, a pet health insurance provider, offers a free guidebook, “101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet,” available to caring pet owners.)

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