Make Christmas Safe for Your Pets

Make Christmas Safe for Your Pets


While the Christmas season is a time of joy and goodwill to man, it can also present dangers and stress to your pets. With a little planning and knowledge, you can provide a happy and safe environment.

Be mindful of holiday plants, some of which are toxic. The most common are holly, poinsettias, yew, and lilies. Keep sweets, especially chocolates, out of reach. With the weather turning cold, it is also time to put antifreeze in your cars. Be sure to clean up any spills, and keep antifreeze containers tightly closed and in a location where your pets can’t get to it. Antifreeze is very tempting to cats and dogs, and a small amount ingested can result in a painful death. Also, keep track of your batteries, which are very dangerous if swallowed.

Ornaments and trees present dangers as well. Many cats love to play with tinsel and ribbons. If they should swallow these, it can result in life-threatening intestinal blockage, possibly requiring emergency (and expensive) surgery. Angel hair is made of spun glass, and if ingested can shred your pet’s stomach and intestines. Artificial snow is toxic, whether eaten or inhaled. Breakable ornaments present the problem of skin and paw lacerations, as do tree lights. Also, be mindful that electrical cords may attract your pet, especially cats and kittens. Drinking the water from your Christmas tree stand can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and ingested pine needles can get stuck in the mouth and/or esophagus.

While small amounts of turkey and ham shouldn’t present a problem for most pets, they should never be allowed to have turkey bones. Keep your trashcan out of reach, since the contents may be irresistible.

If you plan to have company over the holidays, please be aware that your pet may be stressed by all the commotion. Provide a quiet place for them to get away from everyone. This keeps them safe and happy, and can prevent scratches and bites to your guests. Even the most easy-going cat or dog can bite or scratch if over-stressed.

If you plan to give someone a puppy, kitten, or other small animal as a present, please be sure that you’ve discussed it with the recipient. It is never a good idea to surprise someone with a live animal as a present. If you do give a pet as a mutually agreed upon gift, adopt one from the shelter or from a rescue at In addition, the Campbell County Animal Shelter always needs and appreciates donations, especially this time of year. It’s a great time to bring special treats and toys to the cats and dogs not lucky enough to have a home of their own.

Bridget Dischar
Animal Control Officer

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