19 Holiday Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy

Cat sitting under a lit Christmas TreeThe end of the calendar year brings many celebrations; filled with food, decoration and joy. We are busy planning events with our friends and family, and our pets want to join in on the fun. All the extra hustle and bustle this time of year can make it difficult to watch out for the safety of your pets. Here are a few things to keep in mind for a happy and safe home this holiday season.


Food is a central part of any festivities. Family and guests are more than happy to prepare amazing cuisine, decorating many a holiday spread. Be mindful that classic holiday treats could pose a danger to your pets.

  • When teflon-coated pans are heated, they release a chemical into the air that is lethal to pet birds. If a guest brings a food item that they want to warm up on the stove, check to make sure it is not a teflon pan. If it is, transfer it to a safe pan that does not have teflon.
  • Bones from ham, beef, turkey, goose and fish should not be given to a dog for chewing. The bones can shatter into fragments, which can tear your animal’s esophagus or other parts of the digestive track.
  • Keep an eye out for dropped food; your pets will, so you should too. Instruct your guests to not feed any pets roaming for a table scrap. Your pet has dietary needs that your guests are not aware of, and certain foods may make your pet sick.
  • Other foods are toxic to pets. Onions cause intestinal problems and a fast heart rate. Grapes and raisins cause kidney problems in cats and dogs. Chocolate causes vomiting and diarrhea. Macadamia nuts can affect the nervous system in dogs. Avocados are toxic to most pets, including reptiles. These foods in more severe cases require veterinary care as ingestion can be fatal. Point out to guests these foods to help with quick pickups.
  • Alcohol is also very poisonous for your pet, just a few ounces can be lethal.
  • Remove all additional risk for dangerous foods by securing the garbage. Secure the top, or place the refuse in another room to ensure your pet is not tempted.


Freshly cut evergreens are popular holiday decorations, but they have special concerns for your pets.

  • Christmas trees in general are not poisonous to dogs and cats, but they can be a tempting play-thing. Try to have other toys available to engage your pet and avoid the tree. Secure your tree so it cannot topple over from an adventurous tree climber.
  • Keep pets away from the tree water. The tree might have been treated with fertilizers, which can taint the tree water. Also, stagnant water can have other bacteria that is bad for your pet . Placing a screen around the tree water basin helps keep out the curious, like cats and ferrets.
  • Plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias contain toxins that are harmful to your pets. They can cause blistering, upset stomachs, nausea, seizures and even death. Keep them out of your pet’s reach, or even better, don’t bring them into your home.
  • Other plants that are brought into the home need to be checked. Many flowers have toxins that are bad for your pets. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, so if you have a cat do not keep lilies in the house.

White dog wearing santa hatDecor & Gifts

Be festive and be merry with your decor! Though also be mindful to keep your pet safe.

  • Don’t let low-hanging ornaments tempt your pets. Keep breakable ornaments high on trees and keep the tree a no-play area. If you put ornaments on lower branches, make them metal or plastic, so your pet is not as apt to break or harm themselves with them. Skip the tinsel too. Tinsel is bright and sparkly and stringy, a perfect toy for any cat. If ingested, it can block their digestive track, needing surgery save your pet’s life.
  • On presents under the tree, do not use string or other curly ribbons; these can tempt a curious pet into playing or eating, causing a digestive block.
  • It is also a good idea to not place gifts that are food items under the tree. Dogs have an acute sense of smell, and their curiosity may get the better of them resulting in eating something they should not.
  • Christmas lights and other electrical decorations are a tempting new treat for chewing to many pets. Any type of decoration that has electrical cords needs to be placed out of a pet’s reach so they do not chew or ingest it.
  • Candles are a popular way to decorate this time of year. Keep candles out of the way of pets; they can burn themselves, or knock them over and cause a fire.
  • The fireplace also has similar concerns. Make sure your pet keeping warm is a safe distance from the fire, so an errant spark cannot burn them.

Celebrations in the Home

If you are hosting any gatherings in your home, we know you are keeping an eye on the comfort of your guests. Keep an eye on your pet’s comfort too.

  • Make a spot in your home that is away from the festivities. Some pets will prefer to stay there the entire time, or take little breaks from the event. Make sure they have access to food, water and a couple toys in this space.
  • If your pet has little issue mingling with the guests, let them enjoy the fun. Keep an eye on them to see if they are getting overwhelmed by the people, or pestered by a guest who does not understand your pet’s non-verbal cues.

During this busy season, be sure your pets continue receiving the same amount of attention and care they are accustomed to. We hope these tips are helpful in ensuring a fun and safe holiday for you and your pets. Pet World wishes you the best this holiday season!

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