5 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Milford, CT

It’s that time of year again! As you’re busy trimming the tree, planning the parties, and making the egg nog, we want to make sure your pet is safe from some of the potential holiday hazards. Consider the following five pet holiday safety tips from the team at Animal Clinic of Milford, and contact us if you have any questions. We hope you and your four-legged friend have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous new year!

Real Christmas Trees

Considering getting a real Christmas tree this year? Although having a real Christmas tree has its perks, it can also have some drawbacks if you have a pet. To a thirsty dog or cat, a bucket of Christmas tree water is just an oversized bowl of drinking water, but if that water contains any chemical preservatives, drinking it can be very dangerous. Another potential hazard are the pine needles, which are considered mildly toxic if ingested. So unless your pet is well trained to stay away from the tree or if the tree area is blocked off from your pet, it’s safer to opt for an artificial tree.

Holiday Plants

Unfortunately, real Christmas trees aren’t the only plants that can be hazardous to pets. Mistletoe, holly, and lilies are a few of the other seasonal plants on the “dangerous” list. If ingested, these plants can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and even kidney failure if treatment isn’t sought. To keep your pet safe from these toxic pets, keep them high and out of your pet’s reach, choose artificial plants instead, or simply choose a different, more pet-friendly decoration.

Tinsel and Garland

They’re shiny, they’re sparkly, and they make our trees beautiful, but that tinsel and garland might not be the best decoration choice if you have a curious pet—especially if that pet is a cat. Many cats are naturally drawn to stringy items like yarn and ribbons, so that tinsel and garland is likely going to attract Kitty, too. If ingested, these decorations can pose a choking or obstruction hazard, which may require surgery to correct. So if you have a curious pet, either avoid buying these decorations altogether or keep them high on your tree, where your pet can’t easily access them.

Holiday Foods

Tempted to share some of your holiday dinner with your four-legged friend? Before you do, consider the fact that some “people food” is actually toxic to pets. Some of the most common toxic foods to pets include chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, and the sugar substitute xylitol. If ingested, these foods can leave your pet feeling very sick or worse. Other potentially dangerous foods are those that are high in fat, such as sausage, bacon, and poultry skin. Avoid feeding your pet any of these foods to prevent sickness and weight gain.

Some of the non-toxic foods are apples and carrots (chopped in small pieces), cooked poultry (white meat with no bones or gravy), and green beans. Although these foods are safe and have several health benefits for your pet, make sure to limit the amount you give them. “Everything in moderation.”

With these tips, your pet can have a safe, happy holiday with you. However, if ever you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic substance or is otherwise in need of emergency care, call Animal Clinic of Milford at (203) 882-8311.

Holiday Safety Tips


The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.


SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips