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Avoiding Holiday Pet Hazards

Avoiding Holiday Pet Hazards

We love the holidays here at Prytania Veterinary Hospital! And we want all of you to have the happiest, safest holiday season possible, so we’ve compiled a list of holiday hazards and preventative measures to avoid these dangers.


The following holiday plants should be kept completely out of reach of pets or simply not brought into homes where pets reside. These plants if ingested may cause an aggregate of symptoms including, but not limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver issues, kidney issues and cardiac issues:

– Poinsettias
– Holly
– Mistletoe
– Amaryllis
– Cedar
– Pine

For a comprehensive list of all plants that are toxic to cats and dogs, please visit the following links:

Cats: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/…
Dogs: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/…


Everyone loves holiday decorations – including your pets! Watch your pets closely around decorations to be sure they don’t try to chew or eat them. This is especially true for curious, young puppies and kittens.

– Christmas Trees, Garland: All fir varieties are mildly toxic to both dogs and cats. If ingested, the oils of fir trees may cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea and in severe cases, gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction and/or puncture.  Also, try to prevent your pets from drinking the water from the tree stand. This water is not only stagnant and therefore a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, but may contain fertilizers from the tree that could cause GI upset. If you are concerned that your cat or dog may attempt to climb your tree or knock it over, secure your tree to a doorway or window frame with fishing line. This will help prevent your tree from tipping over & scattering decorations.
– Tinsel: If ingested, tinsel can cause intestinal obstruction which could require surgery and be life-threatening.
– Lights, Electric Cords, Batteries: Pets may find it irresistible to play with dangling electric wires or holiday lights. Try to keep wires out of pets’ reach. Chewing on wires could cause oral burns or electric shock. Batteries may also cause oral burns and are potentially fatal if ingested. Routinely check batteries and discard any damaged ones in secure trash cans that your pets cannot access.
– Potpourri: Potpourri is a great way to make your home smell festive and inviting during the holidays. However, potpourris are coated in oils that may cause irritation to the mouth, eyes, and skin of your pet if ingested and/or if allowed contact with skin. Keep these far out of your pets’ reach.


Who doesn’t love a great holiday party?  Some sensitive pets may not! All of the noise, activity, and new people may make them nervous and therefore, unpredictable. Unpredictable pets can behave differently than normal. They may scratch or bite out of fear, anxiously chew on shoes/furniture, or even bolt out of the front door in an attempt to escape the stress. Use the following tips to help keep everyone safe during your holiday festivities:
– Tags and Microchip Information: Keep your dogs’ collars with tags on at all times during parties. If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information is current with the microchip companies. This will make your pet easily identifiable in the event that your pet does wander away from home during a party. If your pets aren’t microchipped yet, call us! We can schedule a quick 15 minute appointment.-
– Safe Rooms/Kennels: If your pet has never attended a house party, provide them with a safe, secure space all to themselves – like their kennel or a spare room/bathroom. Keep a close eye on your pet throughout the party for any signs they may be getting anxious, such as drooling, excessive panting, pacing, whining, hiding. If you notice any of these signs, escort them to their comfort room with their favorite toy or chew.
– Exits: Always keep entrances and exits monitored during parties so your pets don’t escape.
– Trash: Keep trash in rooms that your pets cannot access or keep receptacles covered and anchored to avoid your pets getting into potentially harmful party fare. If you are using trash bags without containers, try to keep them elevated out of your pets’ reach.


There are a number of delicious holiday treats that are harmful to your pets. Please review the following list and remember that it’s usually the best plan not to give table scraps to your dog or cat.

– Chocolate & Baked Goods: Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats.  If you suspect that your pet may have ingested chocolate, seek veterinary care immediately. Baked goods may seem safe, but they are often too rich for our pets and run the risk of causing issues like pancreatitis.  Keep all chocolate, holiday cookies, cakes and pies away from your fur babies.
– Holiday Candy: No holiday candy is safe for your pet to ingest. Sweets may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and in severe cases, diabetes. Sugar-free candies usually contain xylitol which can cause liver failure and even death.
– Turkey/Turkey Skin, Chicken and Bones: Keep all seasoned turkey, turkey skin, chicken, chicken skin, and carcasses far out of reach of your pets. The meat and skin is often too rich and spicy for our furry friends and may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or potentially pancreatitis. Bones pose a choking hazard or may cause intestinal obstruction or puncture that may require surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 504-899-2828. We will be open regular hours on Saturday, December 23rd (8 am to 1 pm), closed Christmas day, and will reopen at 8 am Tuesday, December 26th. If you have an emergency after hours, we recommend you call MedVet at 504-835-8508.

We hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season!

Your friends at Prytania Vet