Safety Tips For Every Season : Winter


Holidays And Pets

Holiday Stress?

Holidays can bring stress to all of us and our pets feel it too. When our routines – and their routines – are disrupted, they take notice.

  • Shy animals can be stressed from the increased activity, visitors and decorations around holidays. Provide a quiet room where they can escape the excitement.
  • If your guests smoke, make sure they are careful with their cigarettes, whether lit or unlit.
  • As guests come and go, there will be chances for your pet to escape. Make sure your pets are microchipped, wear ID tags, and that your dogs are licensed.

December Holidays

We are so busy in December we can forget how many ways our pets can be hurt by the trappings of the season.

Christmas Trees

  • Anchor trees securely. Climbing cats and big dogs’ wagging tails can knock over the tree.
  • Hang breakable ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowed by your pet.
  • Keep tinsel, ribbons and garland out of reach of pets, especially cats since they are intrigued by them. These decorations can become lodged in our pets’ intestines and cause obstruction, leading to surgery or even death.
  • Clean up pine needles frequently. They can be toxic if your pet eats them.
  • Don’t let your pet drink water from the tree stand if you have added preservative chemicals, which can be poisonous. The stagnant water can also contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

House Plants

Some of our favorite indoor plants can harm our pets:

  • Many kinds of lilies can cause kidney failure and sometime death in cats.
  • Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can upset your pet’s digestive system.
  • Mistletoe, especially the berry, is highly toxic. It can cause stomach upset and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems.
  • Amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Hibiscus can cause diarrhea.
  • More on plants that are dangerous to pets »


Cnafles & Lights

Candles & Lights

  • Candles can be enticing to pets, especially if they are fragrant. Pets can be burned or they may knock over a lit candle causing a fire hazard.
  • The fumes from some candles can be harmful to birds.
  • Keep lights and extension cords safely secured or covered to deter chewing, which can lead to electric shock or even electrocution. You can invest in pet-proof extension cords, or you can spray the cords with products such as “Bitter Apple” or “Chew Stop.”


  • Chocolate can make your pet very ill and even cause death. Please see “Halloween” above. Keep unsweetened baking chocolate and especially dark chocolate out of reach.
  • Coffee - grounds and whole beans - is dangerous to animals. Nicotine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate, leading to collapse and even death.
  • See the section above on Thanksgiving for more tips about the hazards to your pet from feast day meals.

Make The Holidays Special For Your Pet

Give your pet some extra love and attention during the holidays:

  • Take your dog for an extra walk. It will help both of you relieve some holiday stress.
  • Keep a supply of pet treats handy and reach for one of those before you’re tempted to toss a little bite of people food.
  • Remember the pets that don’t have a home by donating to your local shelter.