a lady hugs a cat in front of Christmas tree to avoid holiday hazards

How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Holiday Hazards

December 15, 2023

The holidays are full of joy — but they can also bring some danger for the four-legged family members in your life. From decorations to foods to presents, the holidays pose some new holiday hazards for your pets. Keep your cats, dogs and other pets safe this year by watching out for these possible holiday hazards.

Watch the yummy foods

Holiday food isn’t just tempting for humans. Even dogs and cats may want to dig into family meals and desserts. When you serve up some cheer this year, keep an eye on these items and don’t let your pet get a taste of the following:

  • Chocolate, especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate, which can be lethal to dogs even in small amounts
  • Artificial sweetener in candies and baked goods, which can cause diarrhea and liver problems in dogs
  • Poultry and ham bones, which present a choking hazard to all pets
  • Yeasted dough, especially raw, which can cause dangerous and painful bloating in animals
  • High-fat items like butter, turkey skin, ham and more that can lead to painful, life-threatening pancreatitis
  • Raisins and grapes, which are toxic for pets

If you want your pet to enjoy special holiday foods, bake up some items especially for them or purchase holiday items at a local pet store. Remember, always monitor dogs when they are chewing on items like bones, antlers or rawhides to avoid hazards.

Be careful with the Christmas tree

Christmas trees are both a danger and a challenge, especially for cats who like to climb. Secure your Christmas tree to the ceiling or wall to ensure it doesn’t fall over if your kitty gets adventurous or decides to play with the ornaments.

You should also avoid the addition of any chemicals in the water at the base of live trees. It is likely your pet will drink from the tree stand at some point, and additives to keep the tree fresh could be toxic.

And when it comes to tree décor, avoid salt dough ornaments, popcorn garlands or other food-based decorations that could tempt pets. Also, try to purchase shatter-proof ornaments to prevent any possible injuries to you or your pets’ paws.

Prepare for guests

Not all pets enjoy houseguests. Many cats and dogs can’t take the stress of crowds and new people, putting their health at risk and causing strange behaviours, even biting or aggression.

Make sure your pet has somewhere safe and quiet in the house they can go to be alone, such as a bedroom away from the merriment. You may choose to crate your pet with a favourite toy or treat if they feel safer that way or even board them away from home for the evening.

If other guests plan to bring pets to your home, be sure to set ground rules and make arrangements for their pets as well.

Clean up well

After your holiday party is over, clean up all scraps, foods, tinsel and more. Always take out the trash to keep it away from curious (and hungry) pets. When you let your pet out of their comfort area, give them plenty of praise to help them calm down and feel safe in their home again.

As you prepare for the holiday season, keep your cat and dog in mind, too. With the right precautions, every member of your family can have a happy holiday.


This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your attorney, doctor, broker or advisor to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Copyright © 2022 Applied Systems Inc. All rights reserved.