While the holiday season is an exciting time, it can be potentially hazardous to our pets. Below, we’re listing some common household holiday items that have the potential to harm your pets during this time of the year!


Although tinsel can be fun and flashy when used as a holiday decoration, our pets see it as something they can play with or chew on. If a cat or dog were to ingest too much of it, there’s a risk for gastrointestinal obstruction. The kitty cats find the tinsel to be an especially fun looking toy! Linear foreign bodies are very dangerous so keep the tinsel out of your pets’ paws!

Electrical wires

Lights are one of the most popular decorations around Christmas time. We decorate our houses, walls, and trees with them. However, Christmas lights can also be hazardous to both indoor and outdoor pets. They can cause burns and electric shock if chewed on. To prevent this from happening, always unplug lights when you leave the house or go to bed. Use extra caution especially if you have young puppies or kittens in your home.

Flocking on trees and Pine Needles

Flocking, or imitation snow, can be very hazardous to pets who ingest it. Some pets love to chew on the flocked branches of indoor Christmas trees, especially the kitties. This fake snow is considered mildly toxic but can lead to intestinal blockages if too much is ingested. Similarly if an excessive amount of pine needles are ingested they can also cause an intestinal obstruction. We recommend avoiding edible decorations if you have pets in your home, like popcorn or candy canes.


Potpourri can create a warm and wonderful holiday smells throughout our homes but it can also pose a significant risk to our indoor pets. Liquid potpourri contains ingredients that can be toxic to pets, two of which are essential oils and cationic detergents. This form of potpourri can cause severe ulcerations and chemical burns on your pets. On the other hand, dry potpourri can contain a variety of dried plants and flowers depending on the scent. The toxicity depends on which flowers and plants are in them, but even the non-toxic plants can irritate your pet’s gastrointestinal system and cause diarrhea or vomiting.


Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettias can cause adverse effects when ingested by animals. The clinical signs can vary from mild GI upset to more severe signs depending on which plant and the amount ingested. To be on the safe side we recommend keeping your pets from ingesting any of these plants!

Rich Foods

Around the holidays there are lots of sweets and delicious foods around that are oh so tempting to your furry friends! If your pet consumes a large amount of rich foods with a high fat content they are at risk of gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis. In addition chocolate is toxic to pets, especially dark chocolate or Bakers Bars. So don’t let those wide eyes and drips of drool fool you and skip the table scraps!

If your pet has gotten into one of these items, is not acting like themselves, showing signs of lethargy, inappetence, vomiting or having diarrhea please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We hope this helps you keep your pets safe this holiday season! If you are in the Louisville, Prospect, or Crestwood, Kentucky areas we are here to serve you. Best Wishes from Dogwood Vet Clinic!