Our furry family members are eager to join the festivities during the holiday season. However, with all the joy, it’s crucial to remember that some holiday traditions and decorations can pose risks to our pets. At East Valley Urgent Pet, we are dedicated to offering exceptional care,  promoting educational tips, and informing pet owners on what to watch out for to help protect their pets during this busy time of the year.

Holiday Lights

Holiday lights add a warm and festive glow to our homes but can also pose risks to curious pets. Ensure that cords are securely hidden or covered, making them less tempting for your pets to nibble on. Additionally, always supervise your pets around lit decorations to prevent them from getting tangled or causing mishaps.

Trees and Decorations

The holiday tree is a cherished centerpiece of festive decor, but it can present hazards for pets. Ensure your tree is securely anchored to prevent accidental tipping. Avoid using tinsel and fragile or sharp ornaments, which can be tempting playthings for pets and pose choking hazards or digestive issues if ingested. These precautions will help you enjoy your holiday tree’s beauty without worrying about your pets’ safety.

Flowers and Plants

While beautiful flowers and plants add to the festive ambiance, it’s essential to be aware of their potential dangers to your pets. Some holiday plants are toxic to cats and dogs, so keeping these out of reach is vital.

  • Poinsettias: These vibrant red plants can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset in pets if ingested.
  • Holly: Holly berries and leaves are toxic to pets and can lead to symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Mistletoe: American and European mistletoe can be hazardous to pets, with symptoms ranging from mild stomach upset to severe poisoning.
  • Christmas Cactus: While less toxic than some other holiday plants, ingestion can still lead to gastrointestinal issues.

Consider safe alternatives for decorations, such as artificial or silk plants that mimic the holiday spirit without posing health risks. If you do choose to have live plants, ensure they are well out of reach of your pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something of concern, you can call ASPCA Pet Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or Pet Poison Control Center at 844-764-7661.

Festive Foods to Avoid

During the holiday season, it is important to be mindful of what your pets can and cannot consume. Some holiday foods can be hazardous to your furry friends, leading to stomach upset, toxicity, or more severe health issues. 

  • Chocolate: Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, contains substances called theobromine and caffeine, which can be toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Xylitol: This sugar substitute is often found in sugar-free candies and baked goods and can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia(Low Blood Sugar) and liver failure.
  • Bones: While bones may seem tempting to offer to your pet for a special treat, they can splinter or crumble and cause choking or obstruction of the GI tract.
  • Grapes and Raisins: These seemingly harmless snacks can lead to kidney failure in some pets.
  • Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages should never be given to pets as they can cause intoxication, coma, and severe health problems.

When disposing of food scraps, be cautious about keeping them out of your pet’s reach. A little care goes a long way in keeping your pet safe and happy during the holiday season.

Presents and Packaging

Amidst the excitement of exchanging gifts during the holidays, it’s important to be aware of potential pet hazards associated with presents and packaging. Items like gift wraps, ribbons, and batteries can pose risks to your furry companions. To keep your pets safe, dispose of packaging materials promptly and securely, and consider storing gifts out of your pet’s reach until it’s time to unwrap them.

Local Urgent Pet Care in Mesa, AZ

This holiday season, while celebrating with family and friends, remember that your pets rely on you to keep them safe. If you ever have concerns or encounter emergencies related to your pet’s well-being, don’t hesitate to reach out to East Valley Urgent Pet in Mesa, AZ. Dr. Usiak and her team are here to offer guidance and assistance, ensuring that you and your furry companions enjoy a happy and hazard-free holiday season together. 

Megan Usiak-McBeth


Dr. Megan Usiak-McBeth leads East Valley Urgent Pet Care with a philosophy of treating every pet and owner as she would wish to be treated. With a background in emergency veterinary medicine and experience as a veterinary nurse, she is not only technically adept but deeply compassionate, often serving as an advocate for voiceless pets. Beyond her urgent care duties, Dr. Usiak is passionate about educating the next generation of veterinarians and enjoys outdoor activities with her family.

Dr. Megan Usiak-McBeth, BVMS, at East Valley Urgent Pet Care in Mesa, AZ

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