Holiday Pet Hazards to Keep in Mind During the Celebrations

Posted by Samantha Bubar

It's nice to treat our pets on holidays, but it's important to be aware of the dangers the holidays present for our furry pals. 

Most of us with pets know the basic "Don't give Fido table scraps" mantra, but there are many more dangers to be aware of. The holidays are the busiest for veterinarians because of lack of awareness during the holiday seasons.

Not just Thanksgiving or Christmas, but ALL holidays need to be closely supervised for our fluffy loved ones.

Independence Day

If you think that it will be fun to bring your dog along to the festivities, think again. Large crowds, parades, and fireworks aren't going to entertain them as much as it does us. The chaos of the people milling about and the loud fireworks are scary for our pets and might prompt them to bolt.

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The 4th of July is the largest intake day for most shelters. Keep them at home and make sure that, if they can hear the fireworks, they have a safe place to go and can't run away.

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With summer celebrations come barbecues and with that comes food scraps! While their sad eyes might tell you otherwise, it's best to keep the scraps away from our pooches. The fat and bones can be harmful for their digestive system and the bones can do serious damage. Keep the alcohol away from curious pooches too.

At most celebrations you can find fun glow-in-the-dark jewelry, and might think it would be cute to put one on a pet. If they chew on the glow stick, or it happens to break open, the liquid is extremely toxic to pets. It's best to avoid glow sticks all together.


We love lounging on the couch and snacking with family and our pets, but pets should be kept away from the latter. All the same food rules mentioned above should be avoided.

The garbage should also be secured because, along with all the usual foods to avoid, there is the extra concern of the skin and baking string, which can get caught in the intestines and cause a major blockage.

Begging for a Holiday Feast

If you have a large gathering with lots of little kids make sure pets are supervised or gated in their own space. A dog that is usually good with people might feel cramped and territorial if the crowd is too large.


The celebration of light! Make sure any and all candles are secured and in a place where they can't be disturbed by a clumsy or curious pet.

holiday dogsOnce again, all candy and chocolate should be kept away from pets, as well as small game pieces they may try to eat. It's best to keep them at home for the holidays, rather than at the vets with a dreidel in their belly.


Oh, the joy of a Christmas tree! Pets might think so, too. Tinsel, lights, ornaments... toys? Make sure your tree is secure and pet-proofed and any and all glass ornaments are out of reach.

It seems that Christmas plants are particularly problematic. Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, pine needles... they're all harmful to your pets. Keep a close eye on your pet and your plants to avoid the dreaded holiday vet trip.

Make sure that no presents under the tree are edible; you can imagine the lengths a dog would go to, to get to whatever is wrapped inside. Common edible gifts are cookies and chocolates, both of which should be kept away from pups.

New Years Eve

No one wants to start the new year with a giant vet bill. To prevent breaking the bank, make sure all lights, candles, and decorations are out of reach of pets. A curious puppy could easily chew on a string of lights, knock over a lit candle, or ingest some fake snow.

Miniature dachshund puppy

Another big issue is the occasional fireworks show. Whether it's friends and family in the backyard, or a town celebration, make sure that your pets have a safe, contained place to be.

New Years Eve is typically a very noisy ordeal with a lot of guests. It's best to keep your pet away from the center of the chaos where they can't sneak out of the house.

There are also snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. While you aren't giving your pets any treats off the no-no list, you can't be sure that your guests aren't. Some big snacks to avoid are chocolate, alcohol, grapes/raisins, onions/garlic, and some nuts.

This is why it's best to keep your pets home when you go to a party or gate them in a safe area when you host guests.

Valentine's Day

Everyone needs a little love, and your pet shouldn't be left out of the holiday, but there are common gifts that could be dangerous. Mainly chocolate, candy, and sweets should be avoided.


Flowers are a concern as well, for both cats and dogs. Common flowers that can cause harm are lilies and roses. Lillies are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats and roses, and, if chewed, they can cause damage via thorns. Keep flowers out of reach of pets or make sure the flowers are pet friendly.

If candles are a part of your date, make sure they're not somewhere pets have access to them. A dog or cat could easily knock a candle over; the fire department probably doesn't want to join you on a date meant for two.


Those plastic eggs that get hidden for the Easter egg hunt look a lot like a toy to pets, and they're usually filled with candy that can be harmful. Make sure no eggs get left behind for a curious companion to find and snack on.

The same goes for Easter grass, the plastic stuff that gets stuck everywhere. It can get stuck in your pet's intestines and cause some serious damage. Make sure it is out of reach and disposed of properly.

Easter Dalmatain Puppy

Once again, the Easter lily is a big concern as it is very toxic to pets. Make sure it is out of reach of all pets. Daffodils have also been known to be dangerous for cats, so make sure all the gorgeous flower arrangements are up and out of the way.

Crowds and Guests

No matter the occasion or the holiday, if you plan on having a lot of guests in your home, it's best to give your dog or cat their own space. If your pet is a social butterfly, they don't need to be gated, but make sure they have somewhere to go if they get overwhelmed or tired, away from the crowd.

It's always a good idea when food and guests are involved to quickly mention to your guests not to give your dog any scraps. It's one thing if you slip your dog the occasional pet-friendly treat, but guests that don't own dogs might not be familiar with what could be harmful to your companion.

It's better to be safe than sorry, especially during the holidays!

Tell us how you prepare your pet for the holidays in the comments below!

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Holiday Pet Hazards to Keep in Mind During the Celebrations