Avoiding Holiday Hazards for Your Pets

Pet holiday safety.

Winter holiday celebrations make us feel merry and bright. Baking cookies and pies, making decadent meals, and decorating our homes bring jolly good times. Unfortunately, the busyness of the season can sometimes lead us to overlook the needs of our pets. Take care this holiday season to keep your furry friends safe by pet-proofing your home to avoid common holiday hazards like this:


While holiday joy comes from the whimsical decorations that embellish our houses, many decorative items pose a hazard to pets. Tinsel and ribbon are especially intriguing for cats and can be dangerous if swallowed. Broken ornaments can lead to tiny cuts in paws or mouths. Cords from holiday lights can give electrical shocks if bitten, and candles and hot wax can leave burns or start fires.


No holiday would be complete without delicious treats and meals with loved ones. Ham, gravy, and other fatty table scraps can lead to a dangerous condition called pancreatitis. Baked goods can cause poisoning from artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol. And of course, chocolate is always a no-no for our animal friends.

Holiday Plants 

Another common tradition includes sprucing up your house with seasonal plants. Pine needles, mistletoe, and holly berries are poisonous if chewed or swallowed by your pet and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If you want to add some holiday spirit with fauna, you might want to opt for the fake variety to avoid inadvertently harming your pets.

Lack of Routine

Pets can feel stressed or anxious when life strays too far from the usual routine. Without enough exercise, pets can become bored and destructive. Open doors can be an opportunity for a quick escape, and too many visitors can be overstimulating for cats and dogs that prefer keeping their humans all to themselves.

Tips for Preventing Holiday Hazards

Celebrate the reasons for the season and keep your pet healthy with the following tips:

  • Store wrapping supplies and gifts in closets or out of reach
  • Pet-proof your home by using baby gates and securing the tree
  • Set aside treats for your pets including plain, cooked yams, white meat turkey, or green beans
  • Give your pets a safe space in a kennel or private room during parties
  • Keep your veterinarian’s and local emergency clinic’s contact information nearby

Another tip going into the hectic holiday season is to make sure your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and preventive care.  Call us at (732) 269-3600 to schedule a wellness visit before your holiday schedule fills up. From those of us at Berkeley Veterinary Center, we wish you and your pets a happy and healthy holiday season. 

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