Holiday Pet Hazards

The holiday season is a fun and exciting time for everyone! With all of the decorations, gifts and yummy treats going around, we often forget that our pets don’t know what isn’t good for them. That being said, it is also very important to be extra mindful of our curious furry family members at this time of the year!

We would like to share some common holiday hazards that your pet may be exposed to during the holiday season!

Holiday lights
Curious pets may be tempted to chew on or play with electric cables or holiday lights on our trees. Pets can get tangled in the cables which can cause various injuries, as well as burns and electrocutions if chewed on. Be sure to take caution and ensure that all cables from holiday lights are well concealed and out of reach.

Tinsel and ribbon
These are items that are often used to decorate our homes and gifts around the holidays, but are commonly neglected as a possible hazard for our pets. If ingested, they can cause a linear foreign body. This happens when the tinsel gets stuck to your pet’s tongue, teeth or stomach, making it unable to pass through the intestines the way it should – causing excruciating incisions in the intestines with every contraction. They can also cause a stomach or intestinal blockage, where the tinsel bunches up in the stomach or intestines, causing a blockage which can lead to a rupture.

Christmas Trees/Ornaments
Tree-stand water contains preservatives and sap that may cause vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to the water, if the pine needles are ingested, they can irritate the esophagus and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and weakness. Ornaments can cause an obstruction potentially leading to the need for surgery if ingested. In addition, ornaments made of glass can fall and break, leading to cuts and other various injuries.

Decorative Plants
Festive plants are often displayed around the house during the holiday season, and although they look beautiful, precautions should be taken to avoid ingestion of any plant. Common plants that are seen around the holidays include poinsettias, mistletoe, lilies and holly. These plants can all be toxic to our furry friends and can potentially be life-threatening if ingested.

Hazardous Pet Treats
We all love to spoil our furry family members with gifts and treats during this season, however, caution must be taken when deciding which treats to purchase and give to our pets. Bones when chewed, especially cooked bones, can fragment into small slivers that can cause severe irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Rawhides and bully sticks can also cause choking and can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction as well.

Hazardous foods/toxins
The holiday season typically also comes with delicious meals and treats for us humans to enjoy. Our holiday meals, while delicious for us, can be extremely dangerous and toxic to our furry friends. Extreme precautions must be taken to ensure that our holiday meals are kept out of reach from our pets. Some human food that is considered to be toxic and/or hazardous to pets, includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Raisins and grapes: Can cause kidney failure
  • Onions: Can lead to liver failure
  • Garlic: Can damage the red blood cells and cause kidney failure
  • Chocolate: Contains caffeine and a caffeine-like substance called theobromine which pets are extremely sensitive to. This can cause stomach upset, tremors, seizures and an irregular heartbeat
  • Macadamia nuts: Can cause neurological signs such as weakness, apparent pain, disorientation and tremors
  • Fatty foods: Examples include meat trimmings and gravy, can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Remains from holiday meals: Bones, corn cobs, plastic utensils etc. can cause serious harm if ingested, including gastrointestinal blockages and perforation
  • Alcohol: Can cause lack of coordination, poor breathing, abnormal acidity and potentially even a coma or death.

General signs of toxicity include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Increase thirst
  • Blood in stool
  • Seizures
  • In-coordination and tremors

With any toxicity, foreign body ingestion or injury, time is of the essence. If you suspect your pet may have ingested or been exposed to one of these potential hazards, please contact your local veterinarian immediately.

From all of us at the Lakeshore Road Animal Hospital, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season!

Office Hours

Monday - Friday

8:00 AM - 8:00 PM


9:00 AM - 2:00 PM


10:00 am - 2:00 pm for food and medication sales

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
10:00 am - 2:00 pm for food and medication sales


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