Tuesday, 12/22/2020

There are so many simple ways to keep your home and pets safe. But, during the holiday season, with the influx of visitors, parties, and gifts, keeping loved ones safe can seem like an impossibility. While many love the holiday season for parties, traditions, and the chance to reunite with family, often many pet parents get anxious. 

Preparing for the holiday season doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. Instead, take the time to understand the risks and make the necessary precautions to keep your pet safe.  That being said, it’s also one of the most difficult. As pet parents, we know that everything we do for our beloved fuzzballs comes with a risk. If you have a pet, you’d be wise to learn about the most common dangers in and around your home. As cute as they may be, puppies and kittens are still animals and therefore, they tend to explore their surroundings and take risks with them. We have tried to list here the 10 most common dangers for dogs during the holiday season.

What Are The Key Health Hazards For Your Pet During Christmas?

The holidays can be a stressful time for pets, as they are home alone more or completely surrounded by friends and relatives, unlike other times. Either scenario is stressful to the pets. 

Christmas trees can pose serious dangers to your pets. Toxic decorations might be tempting for curious pets. The holidays can lead to increased emergency vet visits. Some of the other Christmas hazards in the festive season are as follows 

Tinsel, Glass Decors & Baubles

While tinsel looks like an element of fun for your pet if your pet swallows it can cause dangerous blockages in an animal’s stomach. Besides, keep your pets away from the fragile decorations in the lower branches of the Christmas tree. Tie the glass decor or anything: bells, metal hooks, strings of popcorn, salt dough ornaments, tie them in the upper branches. And if possible avoid using glass ornaments as your pet can on a broken ornament. Baubles can likewise be swallowed by your pet which obstructs the gastrointestinal tract. Besides these can be toxic due to the chemicals in them.

Candles & Fairy Lights

While you are tempted to add the candles to craft a cozy atmosphere, candle flames burn paws or the noses of your puffballs. Besides, if the candle falls over them it can lead to a medical emergency. Just like candles, decor items such as fairy lights bring health hazards. Especially the cats have the tendency to chew them, which can burn their mouth or even worse can electrocute them. So ensure to keep hanging the lights at a safe distance.


Xylitol or artificial sweetener produces a strong release of pancreatic insulin in pets. Besides, it also can cause a quick drop in blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia. Xylitol can be lethal as all these health hazards can happen just within 10 to 60 minutes after ingesting the food containing xylitol.

Even sometimes certain sugar-free food products also include xylitol, referred to as sugar-alcohol. If you eat any food containing artificial sweeteners, you can witness the signs such as throwing up, signs of hypoglycemia such as reduced activity, weakness, staggering, lack of coordination, fainting, and seizures.

If you witness any of such signs ensure all your vet or your local animal hospital.

Grapes or Raisins

If your dog consumes rape or raisins it can lead to kidney failure, you may also witness signs such as appetite loss, unusual weakness, and stillness, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pains, thirst, and dehydration. During the festivities therefore the food that contains raisins or grapes hold dangerous for your dog. If you pet any of such food ensure to contact your vet immediately for assistance and guidance.

Macadamia Nuts 

Macadamia nuts build up cyanogenic glycosides in their seeds, and it is a potential health hazard for your dog. If your pet eats macadamia nuts you may witness signs such as weakness in the hind legs, throwing up, and diarrhea. Besides, in some cases, the serious symptoms include trembling and fever which needs medical attention. Furthermore nuts are a fatty snack that can cause pancreatitis, an uncomfortable inflammatory condition of the pancreas.


If there are cases when your pet consumes alcohol mixed food such as eggnog or in alcohol-infused cakes or other foods it may lead to alcohol toxicity.  However, intoxication depends on concentration. But for pets, even a small amount of alcohol (ethanol)  can create a much higher impact.

Signs of alcohol toxicity in dogs include anxiety and sleepiness, disorientation, lack of coordination, throwing up and retching, increased thirst, drooling, weakness, collapse, sluggish breathing, low blood-sugar levels, high blood pressure, and fever. 

How to Avoid Food-Related Accidents in Pets During Christmas?

The food-related accidents in pets during Christmas time are often something that pet owners are not prepared for. Some of the most common food-related accidents that you might run into include: 

  • Your dog eating a whole turkey – If you’re going to be grilling or cooking any type of meat over the fire and your dog is around, make sure they are either in an enclosed area or distracted with other activities so they do not try to get their paws on the meat.
  • Your cat is stealing all of your holiday cookies – Cats love sweets and will go to all lengths to get them, so if you have any cookie dough out or raw cookie dough, make sure it’s put away when your cat is around. This includes making sure that any flour containers are properly closed as well. 
  • Your ferret steals presents from under the tree – It can be hard to keep an eye on a ferret at all times, but it is important to keep them away from any presents under the tree which may contain anything toxic.

There are certain other common foods that are a serious hazard ahead for your pet. You can check out the infographics illustrating the hazards during festivities that you should be aware of. 

10 Christmas hazards for Pets - GreatVet [Infographic]

How To Keep Your Pet Safe During Festivities: 4 Tips

A pet can be a family member too and this is the time of year when we are going to see an increase in people coming over to check out our animals and their behavior as well. So, while you’re going to want to keep in mind all of the common pitfalls that pet owners should be aware of this holiday season, it’s also a great time to be vigilant and prepared for anything that might come your way. 

1) Keep Your Pets Indoors: One of the most important things to remember during the holidays is that your pets should stay indoors. When they are outside, they could get food leftovers or even encounter carolers who will try to give them food or even take them home with them! 

2) Make Sure You Have Supplies in Stock: This includes everything from medications, toys, treats and more. It also makes sense to have more than one water bowl outside just in case something happens. 

3) Keep Your Animals Safe With Baby Gates: Protecting your pets from curious children is essential and baby gates are a great way to do this. Use them around Christmas trees, doorways or any entrance where people might be coming in contact with the animals.

4) Feed Them Before You Feed Yourself: Pets should always eat before people do so make sure that you feed them first before you start on your own meal so there is no competition for food between both species in the household. 

Final Thought: How to find a vet in a medical emergency during Christmas?

Unfortunately, there is always the chance that something tragic might happen to your pet during the holiday season. And if it does, you should know where to go for a vet in a medical emergency. If your pet becomes sick or injured and needs immediate medical attention, you don’t want to waste time searching the internet or calling all of your veterinarian friends looking for a clinic open on Christmas day. You can find out where to go by checking the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or can take the help of GreatVet to find the best suitable vet in your locality This site will have a list of clinics that are open all night on Christmas so you don’t have to worry about it being too late at night when an emergency occurs.

Disclaimer: The content on the site is for educational purposes only, and it does not provide medical advice. The shared information must not be treated as a substitute for or alternative for medical practitioner advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Regarding any concerns about your pet’s health, seeking veterinary guidance is of utmost necessity. Each pet has specific health, fitness & nutrition needs. Do not disregard, avoid or delay pet health-related advice from veterinarians based on reading the information provided on this site.



Rajashree Goswami

About Rajashree Goswami About Rajashree Goswami