Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday this season, it’s important to remember your pet’s needs around this time. Their safety is your responsibility, and if they’re prone to eating everything in sight and getting into trouble, the foods and decorations you have in your home could be a problem for your pet.

Food & Drink

Be sure to keep the following foods and beverages well out of your pet’s reach, or avoid using them altogether if possible.

  • Wine, beer, alcohol, liquor, hot cocoa, tea, grape juice and coffee
  • Grapes, raisins and currants
  • Garlic, onions, chives and leeks
  • Macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans and pistachios
  • Meat bones (any kind, especially turkey and chicken bones, which splinter easily)
  • Chocolate (baker’s chocolate, chocolate candies, chocolate frosting, cake, etc.)
  • Yeast and uncooked bread dough
  • Foods containing nutmeg can cause stomach upset
  • Sugar-free candies and baked goods that may contain xylitol, which is very toxic for animals


These items can cause choking, bowel obstruction and injury.

  • Glass ornaments
  • String, ribbon, tinsel, wire
  • Fake snow, flocking
  • Be careful with strands of lights and electrical cords; try to keep them in places your pet can’t reach or keep them covered
  • Any small objects your pet might be tempted to swallow (figurines, nativity sets, incense sticks, potpourri, etc.)
  • Candles/open flames (opt for artificial candles if you can)


  • Pine is toxic, especially for cats; keep your feline family member away from the tree whenever possible. Pine sap and the water for the tree can make them very sick.
  • Holly berries can be moderately toxic.
  • Mistletoe is VERY poisonous for animals; keep it out of your home altogether if you can.
  • Poinsettias are mildly toxic and can cause minor vomiting and diarrhea. Due to their unpleasant taste, your pet will likely not be interested in snacking on this plant, so it should be safe to keep around your home. Just keep a close eye on your pet!

If you have any questions about foods or decorations not listed here, we welcome you to call us at (708) 448-6600.