Beware of These Holiday Pet Safety Hazards

The holiday season is in full swing—it’s a time of family, food, and fun. Of course, it also brings a few pet hazards to be aware of! Here, your Essex-Middle River, MD veterinarian tells you what to stay on the lookout for.

Toxic Foods

Many human foods floating around your kitchen this time of year aren’t good for pets. The list includes onions, garlic, chives, grapes, raisins, chocolate, candy, caffeinated items, salt, fatty foods, and more. Also make sure you don’t slip your pet bones, whether they’re cooked or uncooked. Bones can splinter apart dangerously, causing a choking hazard or even puncturing a pet’s intestinal lining. It’s best to keep your pet out of the kitchen entirely during holiday mealtimes.


Alcohol is bad for pets during any time of the year, but holiday parties make the danger even more prevalent. Remember that alcohol affects animals the same way it affects humans; the only difference is that it takes only small amounts to do serious damage. During all parties that include alcoholic beverages, keep a close eye on them to make sure that pets don’t imbibe.

Tree Decorations

It’s likely that your pet will see shiny tinsel strings and sparkling tree ornaments as fun play-toys. These can be dangerous, though—tinsel can cause intestinal blockage when swallowed, and ornaments may break into sharp pieces. For your pet’s safety, make sure they can’t get too close to the tree. If necessary, place decorations on the higher sections so pets can’t reach them.

Tree Anchor

Do you have a real tree decorating your home? Make sure your animal companion can’t get to the tree anchor or base, as this area contains stagnant water that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria and other contaminating agents. Plus, pets may accidentally pull the entire tree over on top of themselves.

Wrapping Supplies

Take care not to leave wrapping paper, tape, string, twine, ribbons, and bows in an area where pets can reach them, since these products may cause an upset stomach or intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Also make sure you don’t leave scissors lying about on the floor, as they can cut pets—or humans—who walk over them.

With a few simple precautions, you and your furry companions can enjoy a safe, happy, and fun holiday season. Call your Essex-Middle River, MD animal hospital for more great safety tips for the holidays.