Dog and cat with turkeyThere are several household items that can be dangerous to pets on a regular basis, but holidays bring additional hazards. It is important to be aware of the most common seasonal health hazards and plan ahead. On Halloween, make sure all pets are secured before opening the door for trick or treaters. Owners of black cats should take extra caution to keep them inside as well. If you are having a holiday party make sure guests are mindful of where pets are when opening the door. One of the biggest dangers is when guests spoil pets with table scraps and extra treats. 

Rich and spicy foods can cause an upset stomach resulting in vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to inflammation of the pancreas. If your pet develops pancreatitis, it is important to contact your veterinarian as it can be life threatening. Although pets love chewing on bones, they can splinter causing damage to the mouth and esophagus or get swallowed whole resulting in intestinal blockages. Halloween candy poses a risk as too much chocolate can be fatal. Other candy can contain the sweetener xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. If a dog ingests candy with xylitol it causes a decrease in their blood sugar. Signs of low blood sugar include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, lethargy, tremors and seizures. These signs can develop within 15-30min of xylitol ingestion, making it critical to seek veterinary attention immediately.


All decorations should be kept off the floor and out of the pet’s reach. Decorations such as tinsel, ribbons, and ornaments pose a problem when ingested. String like items can get caught around the tongue and swallowed, damaging the esophagus and/or the intestines and often require surgical removal. Several plants, including holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous and result in stomach upset if ingested. If pets drink water from the base of Christmas trees it can result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as it can contain chemicals from fertilizers as well as bacteria from standing stagnant. Electrical cords should be covered as they are an ever-present danger. Being prepared and knowing the dangers help ensure a fun and safe holiday season for you and your pets.