Pets can join the holiday festivities in ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills. Unfortunately, every holiday brings AVOIDABLE illness. In order to keep your pet safe and cozy this holiday season, we have created a “naughty and nice” list for you to follow.

NICE Holiday Food Tips

  1. What do you think is the most common cause of diarrhea and vomiting during any holiday? Sadly, it is the LEFTOVERS!! – Fatty, spicy, boney, seasoned, creamy foods can lead to nasty diarrhea and vomiting. Sometimes even bigger problems that costs hospitalizing your furry friend. Throw out the remaining food and stick to pet food and pet treats only. We assure you; it is not worth feeding leftovers to your pet.
  2. Keep unattended food items out of your pet’s reach (in cupboards or sealed containers). It is all too common to have food out during the holidays that is easily stolen by the furry thief.
  3. Remember that children may share their food with their furry friend.
  4. Do not leave sweets or scented items wrapped under the tree. They will be eaten!
  5. Avoid leaving food on counters that pets can easily jump onto.
  6. When guests arrive, make sure to discuss these “house rules”.
  7. Secure the trash and/or take out the trash regularly.
  8. Secure your pet in a room when leaving food and beverages out for guests or if there are hazards that may pose a threat to your pets’ health.

NAUGHTY (Toxic) Foods

  1. Sweets – Chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol
  2. Leftovers
  3. Nuts
  4. Coffee, caffeine
  5. Raw meat, raw egg, bones (contain bacteria that can lead to infection in the gut)
  6. Moldy, spoiled food
  7. Onions, onion powder, garlic, garlic powder, chives
  8. Fatty foods, grease, oil, butter, cheese, milk products, etc.
  9. Alcoholic drinks
  10. Salt
  11. Grapes, raisins
  12. Yeast and dough

Put the Medications Away

  1. Make sure to keep all medications locked away. Common human medications that seem safe to you can be deadly in small doses.
  2. Inform guests to keep their medications out of reach and their handbags stored away.
  3. It may be tempting to give your pet something for anxiety; however, do not give anything unless directly prescribed by your veterinarian. Some medications can be extremely dangerous and lead to death.
  4. Marijuana has become more popular and can cause seriously low heart rates, temperatures, coma and death. Keep marijuana edibles and plants stored away from pets.

NAUGHTY Seasonal Plants, Decorations, and Common Hazards

  1. Secure the Christmas tree to avoid possible injury.
  2. Cover the tree water and replace frequently because some plant fertilizers can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and toxicity and stagnant water can lead to upset stomach.
  3. Wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows can be swallowed and lead to surgery to remove the obstruction in the gut. What is inside the package can also be just as edible and dangerous. Avoid stringy decorations and any scented items while your pet is around the Christmas tree unattended.
  4. Avoid mistletoe & holly – they can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  5. For our cat families – do not place Lilies in the household. They can cause kidney failure.
  6. No tinsel for kitties – cats love sparkly toys that are stringy, but strings can lead to an obstructed gut, severe vomiting and possible surgery to get the string out.
  7. Candles left unattended can light up furry tails or get knocked over and cause house fires.
  8. Plastic ornaments, electric wires, lights and batteries can be chewed on and cause serious side effects like deadly electric shock, burns to the mouth, and sharp chards in the gut.
  9. Antifreeze tastes good, but unfortunately one teaspoon is deadly to a cat and 4 teaspoons is deadly to a 10lb dog.
  10. Potpourris and scented oils can cause irritation and severe eye damage.
  11. Rat and mouse killers are common in colder weather and can be deadly to our pets.

Want to know more about the toxic food items? Visit ASPCA’s website for more explanation of each food item here.

Do you need immediate assistance in determining the potential for toxicity? Call ASPCA Poison Control for guidance. Learn more at