Holiday Hazards

Holiday plants

Mistletoe and holly are very toxic to pets, and poinsettias are mildly toxic. These plants should always be kept out of the reach of your pets. Note that it is recommended that you prevent your pets from chewing on any plants you may have around the home.

Holiday Trees

Make sure that your holiday tree is steady and secure, so that it can’t be knocked over. Cover the tree water to keep your cat or dog from drinking out of it. Tinsel, string, ribbon, or angel hair can cause choking or intestinal blockage if it is swallowed by your pet. Sharp pine needles, bits of broken ornaments, and ornament hooks can cause external and intestinal injuries. Keep ornaments high enough on the tree to be out of the reach of your pets.

Guests and Gatherings

If you have guests, post a sign on both sides of your door to make sure that everyone is careful to close it securely. A cat or dog can easily slip out, and its absence may not be noticed immediately in the holiday confusion. (This is one more reason to make sure that your companion animal is wearing up-to-date identification.) You might even consider keeping your pet in a quiet room during the festivities. This way, you won’t have to worry about them slipping out, and they won’t be frightened by the noise and commotion.

Animals as Gifts

Do not give a cat or dog as a surprise gift. Having a companion animal means a daily commitment to that animal for its entire life (10-20 years). Becoming a pet owner is a personal decision that should not be made by someone else. If you want to offer the companionship of a cat or dog to a friend, give that person a gift certificate from The Anti-Cruelty Society instead. This way, the recipient can choose an appropriate and compatible animal – or he or she can choose to not get a pet at all.


It is important to know how to offer your pet first aid in the case of an emergency, as well as where to obtain follow-up care from your veterinarian or an emergency clinic.



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