Holiday Pet Hazards to Avoid

With the holidays coming up, especially during the unusual circumstances that 2020 has brought, we know that everyone is excited. The holiday season is a fun time filled with food, friends and family – pets included. While we encourage sharing holiday memories with your pets, there are some holiday traditions that are best not shared with your furry companions. Holiday foods, plants, treats, even ornaments can pose possible danger to your pet. 

For most, the holiday season means indulging in delicious meals and sweet treats. For our pets, sharing leftovers or letting them sneak licks off of your plate can lead to serious health issues. It is best to keep food in a safe place away from your pet’s reach and to keep the lid on the trash can. 

Here are a list of holiday foods that are best left off your pet’s christmas list this year:


Bones, cooked or raw, can be a serious choking hazard and can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, which can be a medical emergency. It is best to avoid these for your pet.

Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are a component of a lot of holiday foods. These items can be toxic to your pet and can lead to anemia, which can be life threatening.

Sweet treats

Chocolate and xylitol (a sugar free sweetener) are two common ingredients in holiday sweets. While delicious for humans, these ingredients can be extremely toxic to your pet and can cause GI upset and neurological symptoms. 


Alcohol can be toxic to pets. It is best to keep the drinks and christmas cheer safe out of your furry friend’s reach. 

Holiday leftovers

Gravy, meat, and heavily seasoned or buttered foods can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or even pancreatitis in your pet. It is best to keep these off your pet’s plate this holiday.

If you are concerned that your pet has ingested any of the foods on the above list, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

What treats are okay for my pet?

Foods like unseasoned green beans, baby carrots, or a small amount of canned, unseasoned pumpkin are much safer options if you feel the need to indulge your pet. If your pet has any food allergies or a sensitive stomach, it is best to contact your veterinarian prior to giving any new foods or treats.

In addition to the delicious food, many homes are decked to the halls in decorations. Christmas trees and holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are very popular during the most wonderful time of year. Flashing lights, glistening tinsel, and shining ornaments can enchant your pets into trouble. Here are some quick tips on how to keep your decorations pet friendly. 


Many popular or handmade ornaments are made of salt, which can be enticing for your pet. If these ornaments are ingested, they can lead to severe health issues. It is best to keep ornaments a few branches out of reach or ensure your pet is supervised around the tree. 

Holiday Plants

Poinsettias and other holiday plants may be toxic to your pet if eaten or chewed. It is best to keep them in rooms where your pet cannot have access or avoid them entirely. If you are concerned that your pet has ingested any plants, please contact your veterinarian.

Tree Care

Christmas trees should be anchored to the ground to prevent any nose dives from climbing/falling attempts. If your tree is a live one, do not add any water additives as they can be toxic to your pet if they drink the tree water. Ensure your pets are supervised around the tree and fireplace to prevent accidents.


Tinsel, lights and strings can be dangerous if your pet ingests any of the material and can result in a blockage or damage to their intestines. It is important to keep these items out of reach. Be sure your lights are out of reach to prevent your pet from chewing on them and ingestion or electrocution. If any concern, do not allow your pet unsupervised around these decorations to prevent accidents.

 The best part of the holidays with your pet are the fun memories made. By avoiding these common risks and hazards in your home, you can ensure that your pets are safe and happy for this holiday and many holidays to come. If you have any questions about your pet, please contact us at 704-847-8466 or for more information. From all of us at Weddington Animal Hospital, we hope you and your pet have a safe, happy and fun holiday season.