4 Holiday Pet Saftey Dos and Don’ts

The holidays wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t celebrating alongside our furrier family members. You know the feeling; stuffed and content while sprawled out on the couch watching the National Dog Show with your dog or cat keeping you toasty. It’s something we look forward to all season long!

To help keep your season merry and bright, it’s important to remember that safety should be a top priority given the exposure your pets face to potentially dangerous plants, human food, and decorations this time of year. Here are a few safety tips to follow:

With so much great food around for Thanksgiving and holiday parties, it’s important to understand what food might cause upset tummies — or worse, a visit to the emergency vet. 

We recommend to avoid giving your pet any table scraps as added ingredients such as spices (notably sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon), added fat (butter, cream, oil), and additive ingredients (sugar, Xylitol, corn syrup) can have harmful effects on your pets health. Here is a resource for you to ponder, as well as a TL;DR bullet points on what to avoid from this article:


9 Classic Thanksgiving Foods Dangerous to Dogs

  • Bread dough 
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Turkey and ham (skin spiced and salted)
  • Stuffing 
  • Side dishes
  • Bones
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Garbage

If you’re looking to make your home pet-friendly this season, it’s important to know which holiday plants could potentially cause pets medical distress if eaten.

Here are resources from PetMD and others to refer to when deicing which plants to bring into your home, as well as a TL;DR in bullet points for what not to let your pets eat:

Dangerous Winter Holiday Plants for Pets

Dangerous Holiday Plants to Avoid for Your Cat

5 Dog-Safe Alternatives to Popular Holiday Plants


  • Poinsettia Plants
  • Holly and Mistletoe
  • Lilies and Daffodils
  • Amaryllis (Belladonna)
  • Christmas Cactus

If you have young children, you’ll probably notice a lot of cross over between Christmas tree safety for your pets. But for anyone not in the know, here are a few important notes on keeping your Christmas tree (real or fake) safely in your home. Learn more on securing your tree from THE DOG PEOPLE. TL;DR:

  • Secure your tree: Christmas trees near excited wagging tails, kittens eager to climb, or anyone who has the zoomies is bound to topple over. This can be a dangerous scenario if it happens to your pets with breakable ornaments and the tree itself can cause bodily harm. Make sure to anchor the tree as best as possible. 
  • Hide electrical chords: A Pet Alliance staff member recalls her 9 month-old-kitten once having quite the shock while chewing on a string light cord connected to her Christmas tree. “All we herd was a yelp and saw orange fuzz booking it to the bedroom. We then looked over and saw our 4 ft tree toppled over and the lights completely out. He was perfectly fine after the ordeal, but it could have been avoided if we the chords out of reach as it could have been much worse.”
  • Fake Trees: We all love the smell of a Christmas tree, but make sure to ensure your pet cannot reach the water dish and drink from the base. Not only is there bacteria that can develop in the water, but there is a likelihood of fertilizers and pesticide leached from the tree to the water dish.
  • Present Stealers: It’s a truth universally acknowledged that despite buying the most interesting toys, pets love playing with trash. And we know plenty of pets who would love to swipe a few already wrapped gifts from under the tree.  Especially ones with bows (we see you cats and kittens). It’s best that if you don’t want your beautifully wrapped presents torn into, spoiling someones gift in the process, to not put presents down till the morning you plant to open them. This can help avoid accidentally eating a ribbon as well, as blockages from tinsel and string.  

Just like how the holiday’s can be stressful for us with family members new and old dropping by for dinner and presents, the same is true for your animals. It’s essential to set ground rules for your family member to ensure the pets in your home aren’t stressed by all the excitement.

Whether you are hosting for the holidays or traveling with your pets, always make sure you put a pet’s routine and preference into consideration.

Here is a resource from NC State University on the subject. TL;DR subjects covered:

  • Stick to a schedule 
  • Boarding
  • Travel
  • Setting rules with your family 

Latest Blog Posts

Giving Day Sponsored Pets!

Pet Alliance’s Giving Day Sponsors have gone above and beyond supporting our shelter pets. We have six pets who have been graciously sponsored, meaning their adoption fees have been WAIVED!  It’s just a little gift to someone looking to make a life-long commitment to a dog or cat — sending them out into their furever

Read More »

FREE Pet Food Drive-Thru on Sunday, September 27, 2020

We’re kicking off the Pet Alliance Giving Day in a big way! If you or someone you know is in need of a helping “paw” with pet supplies, then join Pet Alliance on Sunday, September 27 as we hand out FREE pet food to our community. Supported by Chewy and Reed Nissan of Central Florida!

Read More »

Whisker’s Workforce

WHISKER’S WORKFORCE cats are felines that cannot thrive living as a pet in a traditional household environment. These cats are better suited to live in barns, warehouses, wineries, plant nurseries, and earn their keep by controlling the rodent and pest population. Whisker’s Workforce cats want to work for you and be allowed to live a

Read More »