Frequently Asked Vet Questions: Holiday Pet Dangers


Remember, alcohol isn’t all that healthy for us either. But make sure to stop drunk uncle Jeff before he fills Fluffy’s bowl with beer! Keep the rumcake away from the table edge!  The ethanol content can give your pet alcohol poisoning in incredibly low dosages! They are much smaller in weight than humans, and their livers not capable of processing out the toxins as effectively as ours.

Raisins & Grapes

You may not think twice about these but both are hazardous to Spot. Even in small amounts grapes or their dried kin can cause fatal reactions in any breed, age, or size dog. The substance that causes this reaction is not yet known.


Medications are designed specifically for human consumption. This should really go without saying but unless a medication has been designed and prescribed for you specific pet keep all of them out of reach!


When it comes to cats, tinsel attracts their attention. The shine and dangling nature of it seems almost designed to get their interest. But keep them firmly out of reach from Sassy as the tinsel is sharp, thin, and can easily wrap or ball up in the innards and cause an obstruction.


Chocolate is on everyone’s watchlist when it comes to dogs, and for good reason. There are a number of compounds in them that are toxic for dogs and cats! Luckily most cats show no interested in the treat. If ingested, symptoms include vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, restlessness, tremors, seizures, and in significant dosage collapse and death.


No doubt you don’t even know what this is, most don’t til they are told avoid it! It’s a sugar substitute in sugar free candies, especially gum. When pets get ahold of it, xylitol causes a number of awful effects. Vomitting, seizures, disorientation, or even liver failure! Obviously you want to keep all candies far out of reach but these especially!


Aside from the tradition of Christmas trees, there are a number of plants that find their way into our homes. Holly and mistletoe being some of the most popular to put up around your home. The unfortunate truth is that they are also two of the most toxic plants to animals. They aren’t healthy for humans either! Ingestion of either can cause difficulty breathing, gastro intestinal distress, and in extreme cases – heart failure. Poinsettias are another dangerous one to have around the home, though they will only cause indigestion. A fuller list on dangerous holiday plans for pets can be found from PetMD.

Holiday Ornaments

While not necessarily poisonous (like the other items on this list) ornaments and decorations have dangers all their own. Sometimes these are designed or decorated to look like food! This can be awfully tempting for some animals and if they take a bite out of (or swallow) an ornament can have sharp edges that can cut and punctures inside. To combat this, make sure any ornament or decoration is out of reach, and solidly secured.

Electrical Cords

Electrical cords should be safely handled even if no pets are around! With animals who don’t know that their plasticy, chewy bodies are coursing with possibly deadly levels of electricity it is even more so. You don’t want any of your pets getting a fatal shock. Not to mention any chewing can cause damages to the safety of the cords and can lead to fires or burns!

The best thing you can do to keep your furry friends safe this holiday season is to take a lesson from the Boy Scouts. Be Prepared. Know what is in the foods, keep everything out of reach of Fido, and have your vet’s contact information handy and at the ready for any guests to call should the worst arrive.

With a bit of caution, a bit of preparation you can be sure you don’t need to call and ask your vet questions at 6 am. Happy Holidays from all of us here at Acoma Animal Clinic! We will see you in the New Year!

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