Christmas and Your Pets: Holiday Dangers to Avoid

Dogs We hope you believe in Santa Paws because Christmas is just around the corner! While the season is full of joy and fun for both man and man’s best friend, there are some hidden dangers at the holidays that can be problematic for our furry friends. Powell Veterinary Service has put together a few tips on these holiday dangers so you can enjoy the season worry-free with your pet.

Holiday Plants

One of the main concerns during the holiday season is the plants. Popular plants in homes during Christmastime are holly, mistletoe and poinsettias, and each has the potential to be a risk to your pet’s health if consumed. Poinsettias are well known to cause irritation to the stomach and esophageal lining, while holly can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Mistletoe may be romantic for people, but can cause intestinal and heart issues with pets. Mistletoe can also cause a sharp drop in blood pressure, and even cause seizures and death in the most serious cases. Learn more about these and other holiday plant dangers at Pet MD’s Dog Care Center.


Christmas trees also have their own dangers. For example, tinsel is a common decoration during the holidays. If ingested, tinsel can become a serious problem, with intestinal blockages and even internal cuts to the lining of the intestine a possibility. Cats and kittens are more likely to ingesting tinsel, as it is shiny and waves much like a toy, so it’s important to keep your feline friends as far from the tree as possible.


Rambunctious pets also don’t know what an ornament is other than something that dangles from a branch alluringly. Ball-shaped ornaments in particular can draw the attention of your cat or dog. Even a rogue wagging tail could be enough to knock an ornament from the tree, especially if hanging on a low branch. This could cause the ornament to shatter and leave shards of broken glass for little paws to step in.


Another major concern of Christmas is the overabundance of electrical cords. If you have a young pet that is teething, they may try to chew on power cords if they can reach them. This can lead to your puppy or kitten being shocked or possible even cause a pulmonary edema, a situation where your pet’s lungs fill with fluid leading to trouble breathing for up to 36 hours after the incident. Chewing on cords can even cause burns to your pet in severe cases. Plus, beyond the risk to your pet, gnawed-on cords can expose wiring which can create a serious fire hazard in your home – a threat to everyone inside, whether on four legs or two. Keep the cords out of the reach of your pets or make sure that pets cannot get anywhere near where you have lights plugged in.

The Tree Itself

Finally, Christmas trees in your home have the distinct disadvantage of no longer having a root system to keep them upright. While your tree stand allows you to place your tree nearly anywhere in your home, this delicate balancing act means that even just a little bit of rough play could cause it to fall over, possibly on your pet. To be safe, place your tree in the corner of a room or consider using gates or other methods to keep pets away from the tree. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Do you have any concerns about your pet and the upcoming holiday season? Call Powell Veterinary Service today at 970-352-9164 to learn more or to schedule your pet’s next appointment.