Skip to Content

10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

The holidays are such a fun time of cheer from all the decorations, gifts and good food enjoyed with family and friends.  However, many of the items we enjoy during the holidays can be toxic to our pets. Check out these 10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs to keep your furry family safe this holiday season.

10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs b

I think I need to get Marvin a real Santa Hat this year!

Signs your pet has been poisoned can be as mild as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, up to more severe signs such as lethargy, seizures, excessive drooling, rapid heart rate and over all not acting themselves. While digestive issues is the only side effect to many items, it can still be serious as it can easily lead to dehydration. Plus I know from personal experience that cleaning up cat puke every 2 feet, and having to see them go through that, is not a fun experience.

10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

1.  Lilies – Lilies are beautiful flowers to have around this time of year, but are extremely poisonous to cats, with as little as a leaf or flower petal having the ability to cause sudden kidney failure.  Similar flowers such as daffodils are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

2.  Poinsettias – Did you know that poinsettias being extremely poisonous to pets is actually a hoax?  While you certainly don’t want to encourage your pet to eat them, it is only mildly toxic causing just nausea and vomiting.

3.  Holly and Mistletoe – Exact toxicity depends on the variety holly and mistletoe, but generally they are mildly toxic, again causing nausea and vomiting though some may cause heart issues.

4.  Christmas Trees and Wreaths – Christmas trees themselves are again only mildly toxic, leading to nausea and vomiting, however if the needles are consumed in excess, this can lead to blockages or having the GI tract get punctured.  Also be aware of any water from the tree – it may contain toxic fertilizers.

5.  Grapes, Raisins and Currants – Just because no one else will eat the fruitcake doesn’t mean you should feed it to the dog!  Grapes, raisins and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs.

6.  Chocolate and Cocoa – The chemicals in both chocolate and cocoa can be highly toxic to both dogs and cats.  Usually small amounts will only lead to vomiting and diarrhea, but larger amounts can equate to seizures, etc.

7. Xylitol – Sugarless gums and candies may contain the sugar substitute Xylitol.  While cats can generally tolerate Xylitol, it is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause extremely low blood sugar and liver failure, which can lead to death. Other sugar substitutes may also not be tolerated very well, again causing digestive issues.

8.  Alcohol – It may be a funny thought to give your pet a taste of alcohol, especially after you’ve kicked back a couple yourself.  However, alcohol can be extremely toxic to pets, causing a severe drop in blood sugar and blood pressure or even respiratory issues that can all lead to death.

9.  Fatty Foods – I’ll admit I do often give my cats a taste of chicken or turkey, but don’t over do the fatty foods.  Eating too much can lead to pancreas and liver problems in both cats and dogs.

10.  Liquid Potpourri and Snow Globes – Smelling potpourri can certainly get us in the holiday spirit with all the yummy smells, however if your pet decides to take a drink it can lead to chemical burns and trouble breathing.  Snow Globes, especially imported ones, can contain harmful chemicals, such as antifreeze, that is extremely poisonous and often leads to death in even small amounts.

Other Items to Keep in Mind:

  • Wires, batteries, plastic and glass are all commonly found on decorations, but can be deadly when ingested
  • Tinsel is very attractive for cats with its shine, but can lead to blockages and ruptures and expensive surgery
  • Candles can be an alluring item for pets, until they knock them over  or get burned

If you think your pet may have been poisoned, please take them to the veterinarian immediately or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for advice.  Please note that by calling, you may be billed a consultation fee.  The key to pets surviving poisoning is to get treatment as soon as possible. Your vet may recommend inducing vomiting, so I always make sure I have a bottle of 3% hydrogen on hand just in case. The recommended amount is about 1 teaspoon per 10lbs that your pet weighs and giving it 15 minutes to work. Always consult your vet before inducing vomiting, though, as some things can actually do even more damage coming back up.

Happy Holidays! I hope you and your pets have a wonderful holiday season that is fun and safe knowing these 10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs.

Lee Mckeon

Thursday 24th of December 2015

Thank you so much I need to print this


Thursday 19th of March 2015

This is great information to know! Just like any dog owner, it's important to me that my pets are protected from anything potentially harmful.