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What decorations and holiday hazards may harm my pet?

Did you know that some holiday decorations can actually be hazardous to your pet’s health? As you decorate your home there are certain things to keep in mind relative to your pets and their safety. Many decorations and foods commonly found around the house during holiday times are dangerous for pets to chew on or ingest.

  • Pine needles from Christmas trees can cut gums and throats or become stuck in pets’ mouths.
  • Electrical cords from lights can be harmful if chewed, potentially resulting in electrocution.
  • Tinsel or garland from Christmas trees, as well as gift-wrapping ribbon, can mean an expensive vet visit if ingested, and may require surgical removal from the stomach or the digestive tract.
  • If your pet has ingested tinsel or ribbon and is in the process of passing it, seek veterinary attention immediately, and refrain from attempting to pull it out yourself as it could cause further damage.
  • Even a small amount of chocolate can cause trouble for your pet, and the severity increases with the darkness of the chocolate ingested (unsweetened baker’s chocolate/cocoa, or items containing these, are more serious than milk chocolate). Call the Pet Poison Helpline right away if your pet ingests chocolate - (855) 764-7661.
  • Make sure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored in the event that a curious kitty decides to start climbing.
  • If you have a real tree, avoid letting pets drink the water - tree fertilizers or chemicals can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • Don’t hang tree ornaments within easy reach of your pets, as they can cause obstruction if ingested. Glass ornaments can cause cuts to paws or mouths if broken and eaten or stepped on.
  • Poinsettias are beautiful holiday décor, and are not poisonous to pets, but will cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. Keep these out of reach of pets. The same applies to mistletoe - the American variety causes more mild symptoms if ingested, but the European variety of mistletoe is highly toxic to pets.

Help to ensure that your pets have as happy a holiday season as possible by staying mindful of the decorations that you choose and their placement around the house. If you have any questions about holiday-related pet hazards, give us a call! Please also call us at (480) 820-2822 if your pet has ingested any of the above items, or contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

Contact Information

McClintock Animal Care Center
1836 East Elliot Road
Tempe, AZ 85284

Phone: (480) 820-2822
Email: [email protected]


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