The holidays are always such an exciting time for our families. With the festive celebrations that will be taking place in our homes there are things we like to keep in mind to keep our furry family members happy and safe during the holiday season.

Toxic Foods:  There are a few foods that often make an appearance during the holidays that are safe for us to eat but not okay for our pets. Common ones include:

– Chocolate: Typically the darker the chocolate, the higher the risk for toxicity. Symptoms of chocolate toxicosis can include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors, and seizures.

– Grapes/raisins: Grapes left out for guests to snack on, or raisins in baked goods, are both common around the holidays. Even one grape or raisin can potentially lead to kidney failure in dogs.

– Macadamia nuts: Hidden in cookies, macadamia nuts have the potential to cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness/trouble walking.

– Xylitol: Xylitol is a popular alternative sweetener that can readily be found in gum and candies. Ingestion can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and potentially fatal liver failure.

– Fat trimmings: Dogs do not tolerate high fat foods well, and ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation of the pancreas (known as pancreatitis).

– Bones: Chewing on bones can lead to tooth fractures, as well if swallowed they can cause obstruction or perforation of the gastrointestinal tract.


Toxic Plants:

– Christmas trees: The needles from a Christmas tree can be very irritating to the gastrointestinal tract.

– Mistletoe, Poinsettia, and Holly: All of these plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Physical Hazards:

– Christmas trees: Christmas trees can be very exciting for pets, and their interest may cause the tree to tip over and hurt them.

– Tinsel and ribbons: This shiny stringy decoration is very alluring to cats. If they are playing with it and swallow some it has a risk of getting stuck in the intestines and potentially perforating

– Lights: With holiday lights strung up around the home, all the associated cords can me tempting for pets to chew on, leading to electrical shock.

Behavioural Stressors:

– Visitors: Though some animals love to be out and about when guests arrive, some pets can find visitors very stressful. From the doorbell ringing to loud conversations, it is important to allow pets to have a quiet safe space away from the crowd if they prefer that. Also keep an eye on the door if people are coming and going to make sure no pets make a dash outside.

– Fireworks: Fireworks are common around the holidays, especially on New Year’s Eve. If outside, animals may try to run away if fireworks startle them, so ensure you have good control of your pet if you take them outside for the bathroom on New Year’s Eve. If needed, you can discuss anti-anxiety medications with your veterinarian.

The holidays are a wonderful time for family and friends, and keeping these little things in mind can help make the celebrations safer for the whole family.

If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out!