Puppy dog and kitten with red cap

The holiday season is here, and many pet parents enjoy including their furry family members in the festivities. As you get ready to celebrate the holiday season, it is important to maintain your pet’s normal routine as much as possible. In addition to this, be sure to keep your pets away from the following foods, plants and dangerous holiday decorations.

Christmas Tree

Be sure to anchor your Christmas tree, to make sure it doesn’t accidentally tip over and hurt your pet. Anchoring your tree will also prevent the water in the dish from spilling over. Don’t let your pets drink this stagnant water, as it is a breeding ground for bacteria. Drinking this tree water can nauseate your pet or cause them diarrhea.

Mistletoe and Holly

Both mistletoe and holly should be avoided altogether when you have pets. If your pet eats holly, this can cause them nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to causing gastrointestinal upset, ingesting mistletoe can even cause cardiovascular problems. If you have kitties in your home, be aware that many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Choose silk flowers instead if you are unsure how the plant will affect your pet.


Many people are a fan of decorating their tree with tinsel during the holidays. However, particularly if you have cats, tinsel is not a good idea. Kitties love to bat at tinsel, because it is a light-catching toy to them. While that sounds cute, they may decide to nibble on it instead. If a cat swallows tinsel, this can cause their digestive tract to become obstructed. They may suffer severe vomiting and dehydration. The cat may even require surgery to remove the tinsel.


Perhaps it goes without saying, but you should never leave a burning candle unattended. Your pet may accidentally knock it over, burn themselves or start a fire. Be certain to use an appropriate candle holder, and place the candle on a stable surface without other objects near it. When you exit a room, be sure to put the candle out!

Other Dangerous Items

Be sure to keep potentially dangerous items such as wires, batteries and breakable ornaments out of your pet’s reach. A wire that is punctured can cause a potentially lethal electrical shock. A battery that is punctured can burn your pet’s mouth and esophagus. Logically, if your pet ingests broken ornaments, their digestive tract and mouth can be cut.

Holiday Food Dangers

  • Keep the sweets away. I’m sure you already know about the dangers of chocolate and xylitol for pets, so you won’t deliberately feed these to your pet.
  • Avoid feeding holiday leftovers to your pets. These foods are often spicy or full of fat. Feeding bones to your dog is not a good idea, as they can splinter and injure your pet.
  • Use caution with cocktails. Be sure to keep alcoholic beverages out of the reach of your pets. If your pets ingest alcohol, they can become weak, ill and even go into a coma.

Are you looking for a way to include your pets in your festivities this holiday season? Stuff their stocking with indestructible chew toys such as a Kong®. You can also include chew treats that are easily digestible. For your cat, you can surprise them with a new ball too big to be swallowed, or a stuffed catnip toy.

Pet-Friendly Tips for Your Holiday Gathering

  • Encourage your guests to give attention to your pets while you tend to the party.
  • Make sure all of your medications are locked safely away.
  • Create a comfy quiet space for your pet. He needs fresh water and a place to snuggle up, away from the noise of the party.
  • On New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that confetti strings can become lodged in a cat’s intestines. Noisemakers can scare your pets or damage their sensitive ears. Most pets are afraid of fireworks. Consider making other arrangements for your pet if you plan on setting off fireworks when midnight approaches.