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VCA Holiday Health Hazards for Pets

Holiday Health Hazards for Pets

December is in full swing, which means if you haven’t decked the halls, you will soon. While the holidays are full of rich traditions, delicious foods, and fast-paced routines, not all are pet-friendly.

We know your pets are your top priority, and to help you manage the chaos the holidays often bring, we’ve identified surprising health hazards that can affect pets and how to avoid them.


We’ve heard the warnings about the negative effects of chocolate but have you heard the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it can be to our furry companions? So on a sliding scale, baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder are more dangerous than milk chocolate to your pet’s health.


Of course, you’re not filling Fido’s water bowl with champagne to bring in the new year, but alcohol is lurking in places we might not consider. Baking is a major part of the holiday season and it can get messy when you are elbow deep in all the pastries. It is no stretch to imagine dough falling onto the floor or your inquisitive kitty leaping on the counter when you step away for just a minute. But, unbaked bread dough can cause trouble when the yeast heats up inside the animal’s stomach and turns into ethanol and carbon dioxide. 


Ask visitors to keep prescriptions or over-the-counter human medicine secure. Conversely, if you stay at someone else’s home and they welcome your pet, double check to make sure he or she cannot get into any medication!


Poinsettias, while festive, are toxic to animals when consumed. While we all hope our Fido is the smartest Fido in the world, there’s always one who gets curious. Holly and mistletoe present greater threats to your pet’s health than do poinsettias, so be on the lookout!

The water used to keep a real tree fresh can be a health hazard for dogs and cats, as well. Remember, water may contain bacteria, mold, or fertilizer that you definitely don’t want your best friend to ingest.


We get it; you can’t do Christmas without decorations. You won’t find any Grinches at VCA. We also know the struggle of having a puppy who wants to eat every ornament from the bottom third of the tree or a cat who constantly attacks the lights.

Shatter-proof ornaments are the logical choice for pet owners. Or parents. Or relatives who have a strong affinity for rum balls. 

We’re not smitten with the Christmas Vacation cat scene (you know the one). Keep cords covered to keep temptation at bay. 

No matter how many precautions we take, accidents happen. 

Be prepared for all the holiday “what ifs” by programming your local VCA number into your phone. We are here for you - and your pet - and wish you the merriest of holidays.


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