Christmas time is here again. It can be a wonderful and joyous time of year, but can also be quite hectic. Don’t let the safety of your pets get overlooked with the hustle & bustle of the season. Here are a few common things during the holidays that can be harmful to your pets.

Christmas ornaments– Those shiny, colorful ornaments may be fun to chew on, but they are not so fun to pass through the digestive tract. Sometimes they get stuck and need to be surgically removed. Broken pieces can lacerate tissue from the mouth to the intestines on its way through. The hooks used to hang ornaments are also commonly ingested.

Decorated Christmas tree

Tinsel/Ribbon– The shiny, dangling, reflective decoration is very attractive especially for cats. Ingesting the tinsel can be very dangerous potentially causing bunching and blockage of the intestines.

Lights & Cords– Curious pets may find a cord or string of lights to chew on. This can cause lacerations, burns in the mouth or electrocution. In cases of possible electrocution, pets need to been seen by a veterinarian immediately even if they seem fine.

A lit garland

Candles– The scented candles may be attractive to pets. Getting too close can lead to burns, either from the flame itself or the hot wax.

Food– Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, blue cheese, fatty foods, bones and turkey legs, unbaked bread dough, and alcohol are just a few holiday foods that can be harmful to your pets.

Chocolate sweetsturkey leg

Holiday Plants– Poinsettias, Holly, Mistletoe, and any plant in the Lily family are all toxic to pets. Even your Christmas tree can cause mild gastrointestinal upset if chewed on.

Holiday Plants

Batteries– If a battery is chewed on and pierced it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. If swallowed they can cause obstruction.

Antifreeze– Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze. Ethylene Glycol or antifreeze is very toxic to pets. It is attractive due to its sweet taste. It causes damage to the kidneys and can be fatal.

Christmas Tree Water– The water in your tree anchor can contain fertilizers and bacteria that can cause nausea and diarrhea.


  • Keep ornaments, decorations, plants, etc. out of reach of your pets.
  • Keep an eye on your pets or keep them in a safe area out of danger
  • Keep your pets out of the kitchen and dining room to avoid “counter surfing”.
  • Make sure your guests know the house rules to not feed your pets. Your friends and family may not be aware of the common kitchen foods that are poisonous.
  • Take out the trash. Pets can be pretty sneaky and will have a party in the garbage can if allowed.

If your pet gets into trouble during the holidays, contact us at 218-751-2753. After normal business hours or on holidays, follow the prompts to have a veterinarian paged and they will call you back.