It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but delicious holiday desserts and shiny decorations can put your pet’s health at risk. Follow these simple tips to help keep your animals safe this holiday.

Holiday treats formulated for your pets is highly recommended, but around the holidays season we tend to spoil our pets with a little treat. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make sure you avoid the following foods that are hazardous for pets:

  • Chocolate – is harmful for pets due to the toxic component of theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
  • The artificial sweetener called xylitol, commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods, can also be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.
  • Yeast/ Dough: Can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating
  • Turkey:  Eating turkey or turkey skin, even in a small amount, can lead to pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets.
  • Turkey Bones: Cooked bones can splinter, puncturing the digestive tract!
  • Raisins and Grapes – Grapes and raisins can cause acute (sudden) kidney failure in cats and dogs. It is unknown what the toxic agent is in these fruits. However, clinical signs can occur within 24 hours of eating and include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.


Christmas trees and holiday decorations are risky temptations that our pets want to play with or eat. Plan ahead by following these simple suggestions to create a safe environment for your pets.

  • Christmas trees and water additive for Christmas trees.  – If you buy a real tree, do not add any additives to the water unless it specifically says safe for pets. Stagnant water with additives can be very toxic for your pet. If you have a climber, try placing your Christmas tree in the corner to help decrease the risk of the tree tipping over.
  • Ornaments – Broken ornaments can cause injuries, and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Place fragile ornaments at the top of the tree to avoid your pet from easily knocking them off
  • Pine needles – Clean up fallen pine needles frequently because they can upset your pet’s stomach if consumed
  • Lights and Cords – Keep your pets from chewing on holiday lights by tucking cords out of their reach, or using a grounded three-prong extension cord.
  • Candles – Keep holiday decorative candles far enough away from pets. Always remember to put any candle out when leaving the house.
  • Festive plants –  Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them. Poinsettias can be troublesome as well.

Quick action can save lives. If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435.Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian immediately