Winter holidays are a wonderful time to spend with friends and family, but with all of the prepping and planning, we can forget to abide by the same pet-proofing measures you follow the rest of the year. Here are five holiday hazards that you should be aware of to keep your furry friends safe and healthy through the holiday season.


As irresistible chocolate can be for us, it can be very dangerous for our pets. Even worse, there are many seemingly innocent forms of chocolate that pets can get into during the holidays—chocolate coins, baking chocolate morsels, and even chocolate-covered espresso beans and macadamia nuts can dispense an unhealthy dose of methylxanthines to pets.


While it is highly unlikely that any of your guests would dare to give your pets alcohol, you might not think twice about a piece of rum cake. Pets may also inadvertently become poisoned if they eat any unbaked bread dough.

Once ingested, the stomach acts as an artificial oven that basically metabolizes the yeast [from the unbaked dough] into ethanol and carbon dioxide. This can then cause the animal to bloat from the excess carbon dioxide and suffer from alcohol poisoning from the ethanol.


Grapes and raisins are also common pet safety hazards for pets during the holidays. Any candied raisins found in fruit cake, yogurt-covered raisins or grapes found on appetizer platters could spell bad news for your pet. This is one hazard that most do not know.


You may be prepared for the holidays at home with your furry friends, but you cannot control everything. Traveling guests often leave open suitcases on the ground, where pets can easily get into prescription medications.

Suddenly you have a pet that can get into 20 different medications all at once. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol can be equally dangerous to pets. If you think your pet ingested any medications or supplements, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control (888) 426-4435 right away.


Winter holidays bring with them plenty of connected devices—lights, lights, and more lights—along with the electrical cords and outlets needed to power these devices. Curious puppies and kittens are especially intrigued by the exposed wiring and are therefore most in danger for electrical shocks. Take care where you place electrical cords and outlets, and when possible, place them out of reach from your pets, tape them down or cover them in a protective casing.


While spending holidays with pets can be wonderful and enjoyable, it is always important to be mindful of these pet safety concerns. With a little common sense and a lot of preparation, you can minimize the dangers.

One of the most important aspects of being prepared is knowing what to do if an emergency should occur. It is important to know the contact numbers for your veterinarian, nearest emergency hospital and the Pet Poison Helpline, (888) 426-4435.

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