12 Dangers of Holidays

12 Dangers of Holidays: Keep your pets safe this holiday season

December is a time of cheer and celebration. Festive lights and decorations. Beautiful seasonal plants, and delicious food and drinks. Don’t wreck the holiday season with a costly and potentially deadly mistake. While singing the 12 days of Christmas, remember these 12 holiday pet hazards and keep your pets safe from the dangers of holidays.


The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. If you are having guests over, keep your pets safe by not letting them near the door when pets are arriving or leaving. Consider where your pet can go for quiet and to be alone. If your pet is hiding, it is best to leave them there as they may be feeling anxious or upset. Double check that your pet is wearing an ID tag and consider microchipping them in case they are separated from you. Keep an eye on the following dangers when guests are over to keep your pet safe.


While it may make a delicious adult beverage, alcohol can be extremely dangerous to pets. Even in small doses, alcohol can lead to a coma or death. Remember alcohol may be in baked goods, so keep all human food out of reach of pets.¹


The best advice we can give is to keep all human foods away from pets. Many holiday classics, such as turkey, could be harmful to pets. Items to avoid include: chocolate (toxic to both cats and dogs), other sweets and baked goods (too rich for your pet and some artificial sweeteners can cause liver failure in dogs), turkey and turkey skin (bones can splinter), table scraps (onions, grapes, raisins, and other classics can be toxic), yeast dough (can cause painful gas and dangerous bloating). It is best to avoid giving your pet anything from the human food table and instead share with them an extra special cat or dog treat.²

Christmas Tree

While a Christmas tree may be a staple in some homes, your pets may see it otherwise. Some cats may try to climb the tree or use it as a scratching post, which can cause it to fall over. Secure your tree and ensure it has a sturdy base. Fallen evergreen needles that are ingested can get stuck in your pets’ stomach, requiring surgery to remove. Finally, do not allow your cat or dog to drink the water in the base. The water, with or without additives, can cause an upset stomach.¹

Christmas Ornaments

All ornaments should be out of reach of pets. Curious cats and dogs may bat at bulbs or other shiny ornaments. Only place durable, unbreakable ornaments on lower branches.

Seasonal Plants

A number of seasonal plants can be poisonous to cats and dogs if nibbled or eaten, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias. Amaryllis, balsam, pine and cedar can also be dangerous. View which plants are poisonous to cats and dogs

Tinsel and Ribbons

Many cats love to chew and play with the tinsel, but if it is ingested it can wrap around their tongue or intestines. If you know your cat enjoys playing with these items, maybe skip decorating with it this year.¹


Holiday lights bring magic to your home, but make sure they are out of reach of pets. Sometimes curious pets will chew on the lights, causing burns or electrical shock.


Humans and pets alike are awed by the flickering of a candle. However, never leave a candle unattended, your pet may accidently tip it over, injuring themselves and potentially starting a fire.


Keep small toys away from the mouth of pets. Dogs chewing on the plastic may break their teeth or get it lodged in their throats. Watch your child’s playtime and ensure all toys are picked up afterwards. Also do not allow pets to ingest batteries, this can lead to a number of poisonings.


If you are traveling this holiday season, ensure you have a plan in place for your pet. If bringing them with, travel safely in the car by buckling them in. Double check the host knows you are bringing your pet and there is a safe place for them. If you are leaving your pet at home, ensure you find adequate boarding or a sitter. Leave behind a few numbers in case they need to contact you.

Loud Noises

Finally, the new year is quickly approaching. As you ring in 2023, don’t forget that loud noises can startle and scare pets, causing some of them to run. If you plan on celebrating New Year’s Eve, make sure your pet has a safe, quiet place they can escape to if the noises become too much. Ensure they have a collar on and it is recommended they are microchipped so they can be identified if they run away.

As you and your loved ones celebrate the holidays and new year, remember these 12 dangers and keep all of your family safe, including the one’s with four legs. However, in case something does happen, know your vet’s emergency and after-hours phone numbers.

From everyone at Twin Cities Pet Rescue, have a happy and healthy holiday season and fabulous 2023.

Interested in fostering or adopting a cat or dog with Twin Cities Pet Rescue?
Visit our adoptable pets page to find more information and start the process today!


  1. https://www.medvetforpets.com/12-dangerous-holiday-pet-hazards/
  2. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/holiday-pet-safety