Oak Park Pet Owners: Five Holiday Hazards for Your Pet


As you are getting ready for the holidays, you should remember that pets have more hazards during this time of year. You must know the dangers involved. Many pet parents want their fur families to enjoy the festivities. There are ways to do this without putting your pet at risk.

holiday pet hazards in Oak Park, IL

You could do something as easy as switching from a real Christmas tree to a fake tree. You also need to make sure your pet does not eat anything that could harm them.

You will enjoy the holiday season much more if you do not have to take your pet to the vet because of something they ate. You should protect your pets from all toxic foods and plants. Take a look at this article and find out five-holiday hazards for your pet.

What are The Five Holiday Hazards for Your Pet?

The five-holiday hazards for pets include Christmas tree water and holiday plants, tinsel and ribbons, salt-dough ornaments, holiday lights, and holiday foods. You need to be mindful of these hazards and the possible outcomes for all of them.

1. Christmas Tree Water and Holiday Plants

If you add chemicals to the tree water to keep it fresh longer, you should look at the label to ensure it will not injure your pet. The obvious solution is to get a fake tree. If you have holiday plants, such as:

  • Poinsettias
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe

It would be best if you watched to make sure your cat or dog does not eat them.

Poinsettias can irritate your pet’s mouth and stomach, which can result in vomiting or diarrhea. If your cat or dog has ingested this plant, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Mistletoe toxicity is uncommon and only occurs when a large amount is consumed.

Some of the symptoms of mistletoe toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Excessive drooling

Keep in mind that fatalities from mistletoe poisoning do occur. However, most of the plant needs to be eaten for it to kill your pet. To be on the safe side, keep plants like poinsettias and mistletoe out of your home. The leaves and the berries of holly can also be toxic to both humans and their pets.

You must take your dog or cat to the vet immediately if you suspect they have been eating any of these plants. It is even more necessary to seek medical treatment if they are sick or in distress. 

2. Tinsel and Ribbons

You should keep your cat away from tinsel or ribbons when you are decorating your tree or wrapping or unwrapping gifts. Your cat may be lured into chewing or eating these items because they are sparkly and fun to play with. However, they are not suitable for cats because they can cause severe intestinal damage.

You should refrain from putting tinsel upon the tree and collecting and disposing of any ribbons or strings once the gifts are open. Tinsel and ribbons are dangerous for dogs as well.

Pets who eat these items run the risk of serious injury to or rupture of their intestines. Treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery. You may also want to consider not using ribbon or tinsel at all if you have pets.

3. Salt-Dough Ornaments

If you have kids in your home during the holidays, you might want to make salt-dough ornaments. You should make sure your pets are nowhere around the dough. It contains salt, which is fatal to pets if consumed. Make sure the decorations or play dough are far away from your dog or cat.

Do not allow children to feed your pets the ornaments or dough.

4. Holiday Lights

Pets will be tempted to chew the cords of holiday lights. Indoor and outdoor lights need to be checked to safeguard your pets. Electrical shock is a possibility from defective cords. You need to check lines for any signs of bite marks or loose wires.

Use grounded three-prong extension cords and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for light usage. Electrical shock can cause burns breathing problems, abnormal heart rhythm, and your pet could also lose consciousness. If your pet has been shocked, call the vet as soon as possible.

5. Holiday Foods

During the holidays, there are many family meals that you should never allow your dog or cat to eat. Get-togethers at your house may be tricky with pets. Let everyone know not to give your furry companions table scraps or “treats.” Watch over your pet (see video) to ensure they are not sneaking food that falls on the floor.

Below are some foods you should keep away from your pet:

  • Fat trimmed from meats like steaks or pork roasts – Stomachs and intestines are not used to rich foods. Meat trimmings are high in fat and can cause serious gastrointestinal problems
  • Skin from roasted turkey or chicken – high in fat and grease, which is bad for their digestion and can kill them
  • Turkey carcass – can cause broken or chipped teeth; also, the bones can splinter and get caught in their esophagus or intestines.
  • Steak bones – bones can get stuck in their throat, causing impaction in the stomach, which can lead to needing surgery
  • Chocolate – the least of it is that it could cause diarrhea and vomiting; the worst of it is that it could kill your dog or cat
  • Xylitol – causes a significant drop in blood glucose and can trigger seizures or liver damage. It can even kill your pet.
  • Unbaked bread dough -the yeast can expand in your pet’s stomach, which causes fermentation and leads to alcohol production
  • Alcohol -Ethanol poisoning can lead to depression of the nervous system. Death is a possibility.
  • Onions and garlic – Can cause a severe form of anemia cooked, raw, or powdered. It can be toxic.
  • Raisins and grapes – Can cause severe vomiting that can cause kidney failure. It can be toxic.
  • Stuffing – most stuffing recipes contain garlic, onion, and scallions
  • Cranberry sauce – excess sugar can trigger obesity, diabetes, and dental disease
  • Mashed potatoes – Can lead to gastroenteritis. Mashed potatoes typically involve dairy, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sweet potato casserole – too much sugar can harm the digestive tract
  • Green bean casserole – typically contains dairy and onions
  • Candied yams – too much sugar
  • Corn on the cob – they can choke on it, and it can lead to intestinal obstruction
  • Pumpkin pie – Rich in dairy and sugar, and nutmeg is toxic to pets
  • Eggnog – contains alcohol

Since Pets Are Family, What Can They Eat?

Most people consider their cats and dogs as family, and they want them to join the celebration. The question is, what CAN your pet eat during the holidays?

Your pets can have turkey WITHOUT the skin, sauce, dressings, or any of the herbs and seasonings—just plain meat. For dessert, they can have a simple pumpkin. Pumpkin is excellent for cats and dogs, as it contains a lot of fiber and nutrients. Remember, they can have the pumpkin, but not the pie.

Keep Your Pets Safe from These Holiday Hazards in Oak Park, IL

Holidays are a hectic time in which it could be easy to leave your pet unsupervised. However, you need to make sure your fur baby does not get a hold of anything that could harm or kill them. It is essential to watch them. Always verify with your veterinarian before giving your pet any holiday foods.