Pet Dangers


Danger List




Christmas cactus



Yew – Japanese Yew



Macadamia Nuts


Table Salt (homemade ornaments)

Grapes / Raisins / Currants

Xylitol (sugar free foods)


Christmas Season

It’s that wonderful time of year again, Christmas. Probably more than any other holiday we go all out with decorations, seasonal plants, and lots of snacks, treats and special meals. (The latter causing most of us to have dieting at the top of our New Year’s Resolutions).

As we prepare for Christmas this year, those of us with pets, especially indoor friends, need to remember to take a few simple precautions to keep the season safe for them. Anything new in the house (decorations, plants, etc.) are sure to be investigated by our furry friends. Almost all ornamental plants are toxic to some degree. While some have been exaggerated (poinsettia), there is still potential for toxic reaction from ingestion of any of these plants. Puppies and kittens are usually the most curious and therefore at the most risk. Try to keep them out of reach and watch for excessive interest or sign of damage to the plants. Decorations can be another danger especially to cats or dogs that are chewers. Shiny tinsel can be irresistible to playful cats and can cause serious intestinal obstruction.

Many of our favorite holiday foods are toxic to our pets. The most common toxicity involves chocolate. Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate are toxic ingredients and a rule the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Other foods such as raisins, bones and fatty trimmings from the ham or turkey, macadamia nuts and other rich foods can cause problems.

Most importantly, if you think your pet has eaten something that may be toxic, get advice immediately. Potential poisoning is much more treatable when take care of as soon as possible. In this case a quick response may save a pet’s life. Call your veterinarian immediately. Another good resource is the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 or

Let’s all have a blessed and safe Christmas this year.