‘Tis the season for lots of things to think about when it comes to your pets. We don’t want to be paranoid or anything, but sometimes we aren’t prepared for what a disruption to our regular schedule holidays can be and we open our pets to some dangers we don’t normally run into. 

Here are a few you might not have considered:

Unattended Food and Drink: Be sure to keep pets away from unattended plates and glasses at holiday get-togethers. Keep a lid on the garbage and place overflowing bags out of reach. Spicy and fatty holiday goodies can also play havoc on their digestive systems, leading to costly medical bills you don’t need, especially at this time of year!

Holiday decorations: Tinsel, mistletoe, and potpourri can be hazardous as well as candles, 

and glass ornaments. Flocked Christmas trees and fake snow are poisonous to your pets. And, don’t forget about all those extra electrical cords that can deliver a potentially lethal shock if bitten, or pose a threat of entanglement — or worse. Punctured batteries can cause chemical burns to the mouth, nose and esophagus, too.

On the road: Traveling to friends and family with pets could pose a special problem on snow-covered roads.  Pets are often not restrained in vehicles, so what you might consider a minor fender-bender or a skid into a curb, can throw a pet from their seat into the dashboard or onto the floor, causing them harm. Secured pet carriers or restraining harnesses are good options and offer an extra layer of protection. 

Yeast in raw dough: Like the yeast found in your famous dinner rolls, it can continue to rise in the stomach if eaten and cause bloating and discomfort in your dog.

Salty snacks: Chips, pretzels, nuts, and popcorn can produce excessive thirst and urination. Excessive salt intake can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated temperature, seizures, and even death. One chip might not matter much, but a room full of guests feeding your baby “just one” adds up!

Noise Alert: Noise can unhinge even the most social dog. Give them a quiet place that they can getaway.  Excited children can also cause dogs that have never snapped or bit anyone to act in uncharacteristic ways. (It’s not their fault — the holidays have a way of making many of us go over the cliff..or at least want to!) 

Bones: Bones seem like a natural thing for a dog treat, but they can splinter and become lodged in the digestive tract. Raw bones, raw meat, and raw eggs can carry E Coli and salmonella. And you know…NEVER EVER feed a dog turkey or chicken bones.

Veggie Plates: Vegetable plates seem to be a “must-have” at every party but many vegetables can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage. Onions, garlic and chives are particularly bad. If you must give your pet a treat – a raw carrot will do just fine. Dairy from the dip is also not good for their tummies.

There are plenty of dog-friendly treats and “cookie” recipes if you feel like doing some holiday baking for your four-legged friend. Find some here:


Remember, if you think your buddy might have gotten ahold of something they should not have and you need help — don’t hesitate to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or your local emergency vet clinic.

If you need to keep your best friend occupied while you decorate, bake and wrap, you can play games like hide-the-treat-in-the-muffin-pan. Place a treat in one muffin “hole” and cover all holes with tennis balls or paper. See if they can find the treat on the first try. You can also place a treat under a plastic bowl and let them push it around the kitchen floor until they can get to the prize, but keep an eye open, don’t let them chew on the plastic.  

Remember, everyone needs a time out from the holiday hustle and bustle — INCLUDING YOU!  Nothing works better than a brisk, winter walk…you’ll both enjoy the break.

Keeping your pet’s eating and exercise routine as close to normal as possible will make for a happier animal and better holiday season.