Deck the Halls…But Be Mindful of Pets

Cat with a new year ballThe holidays are just around the corner and many of us will begin decorating our homes.  But before you invest in a twinkling sensation fit for the North Pole, there are a few things pet owners should know to keep their furry family members safe.  There’s nothing merry about having to bring a pet to the vet emergency room during the family festivities.

‘Tis the season for tinsel, ornaments, and gift wrapping!  But if your animal tends to ingest anything he/she finds curious you’ll need to be extremely careful.  The very items that deck your halls can be potential choking hazards.

Sure, tinsel looks delightful, innocently decorating a tree, but it is extremely hazardous if consumed.  Besides posing a choking risk, the sharp edges of broken glass or aluminum ornaments can cause lacerations.  If you notice your pet consume either tinsel or broken ornaments you may want to get him/her checked by your vet.  Gift wrap ribbon is fun for presents, but not for pets.  Do not give your animal a festive collar unless he/she will be under strict supervision.

Another thing to consider is the toxicity of certain holiday plants.  Lilies, mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly all have varying degrees of toxicity and can even lead to death; see below:

  • Lilies – fatal – causes acute kidney failure
  • Mistletoe – extremely toxic if ingested in large amounts – causes hypotension, seizures, and in extreme cases death
  • Poinsettias – toxic – causes irritation and vomiting
  • Holly – low toxicity – causes vomiting, diarrhea, and depression

A complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants can be found here, as provided by

With some supervision and discerning decoration choices, the holiday festivities will be bright and merry for all!

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