Posted by Pet Honesty on

Holiday Dangers for Dogs

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During the holidays, it’s common for us to indulge in some tasty treats and fun activities, and make some exceptions when it comes to dietary restrictions. When it comes to our pets, though, it’s important to keep diets and routine as close to normal as possible. It’s especially important to steer pets clear of unhealthy and potentially toxic foods, seasonal plants, and decorations. 


It may be tempting to share our holiday feasts with our four-legged friends. However, in order to avoid a holiday vet visit, be sure to do your research before sharing a snack with Fido, whether sweet or savory. 

  • Chocolate is infamously known for its toxicity to dogs. It contains theobromine, which affects the heart rate, nervous system, and kidneys. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the risk it poses to your pooch. To be safe, avoid giving any chocolate to your canine, as well as anything containing artificial sweeteners.

  • Alcohol can have similar effects on dogs as it does in humans by causing dizziness and drowsiness. It’s significantly more toxic to dogs than humans, though, and can also cause difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhea, and low blood sugar. Keep drinks out of reach and clean up spills as soon as possible to keep Fido from accidentally consuming alcohol. 
  • Grapes and raisins are also known for being toxic to dogs (along with currants and sultanas). For this reason, keep traditional foods such as Christmas pudding and mince pies away from your pup. Fortunately, cranberries are no problem!

  • Alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives) are dangerous for dogs, whether cooked or uncooked. They can cause digestive issues as well as red blood cell damage, leading to anaemia.

  • Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, and mobility issues for dogs within 12 hours of ingestion. To be safe, limit sharing your macadamia nuts with your decorative nutcracker. 

  • Cooked bones are dangerous to dogs as they can easily break and splinter, causing damage to your dog’s digestive tract once ingested. When preparing your holiday feast, keep all meat out of reach and dispose of trash outside where your dog can’t rummage through it. 

If you’re concerned about digestion issues with your dog, consider Pet Honesty’s Digestive Support Chews, which are safe for dogs with sensitive stomachs and boost the overall performance of the digestive system. (Please note that these are to be used as supplemental support and should not be used in place of a visit to the vet.) 


Seasonal plants can make for nice decorations, but they could also cause damage if ingested by your dog. If it’s impossible to keep your decorative plants out of reach from your pooch, it may be a good idea to invest in some fake plants instead. 

  • Poinsettia can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach, and lead to vomiting and discomfort.

  • Holly is also mildly toxic, and eating the berries could result in an upset stomach.

  • Mistletoe, another mildly toxic seasonal plant, is best kept away from dogs. You can smooch your pooch without mistletoe!

  • Ivy, often used in wreaths, can also cause some tummy issues when digested. With prolonged skin contact, it can also cause allergies. Pet Honesty’s Seasonal SkinHealth with Salmon Oil can help with skin irritation caused by allergies.

  • Pine needles can also cause a mildly upset stomach if eaten by your pet. However, the bigger concern is the sharpness of the pine needles, which can cause internal damage. If you have a real tree, be sure to vacuum frequently and water the tree frequently enough so it doesn’t dry out and lose even more needles. It’s also important to keep Fido from drinking the plant water, as this could also be toxic. 

  • Gifts and Decorations

    Wrapping and opening gifts, setting out decorations and gazing at the festive lights are all moments we’re fond of when it comes to the holidays. To keep these memories peaceful, be aware of hazardous items around the house. 

  • Silica gel, the small packets often found in packaging of gifts as they’re unwrapped, can be toxic to dogs and humans alike. After all, that “do not eat” label is there for a reason.

  • Glass decorations, such as tree ornaments, pose the risk of breaking and smashing into shards, which could break if chewed or swallowed. Keep these decorations as far out of reach as possible, or opt for shatter-proof, pet-friendly decorations instead.

  • Candles are considered to be low in toxicity if ingested, but they may still pose a risk. Keep candles out of reach so your pet can’t eat them or knock them over; in addition to being a fire hazard, the hot wax could burn your pal’s paws and skin. 

  • Potpourri can vary in toxicity, depending on the exact blend. Depending on the contents, potpourri can include hard products such as pieces of bark or pine cones, which could be a choking hazard or cause digestion issues. Keep potpourri out of reach from your pup at all times. 

  • Tinsel is a tempting toy for pets which, while not necessarily toxic, can cause damage to the digestive system if eaten. Foreign objects typically take between 10 to 24 hours to move through the digestive tract. If you don’t see a shiny object in your pet’s poop within that time frame, it may be stuck—and that means it’s time to call the vet. 

  • Lights, wires, and batteries can all be hazardous to your dog. Chewing on string lights could result in electrical shock; digesting batteries left out for new gifts could result in chemical burns and metal poisoning. Avoid leaving batteries lying around, and consider investing in electrical cord covers and cord organizers to make lights and wires less accessible. 

    Additionally, if you’re planning on hosting guests for the holidays, consider that this could be overwhelming for your pet—it’s always a good idea to make sure Fido has a safe space to escape to if he needs a break. Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews can help to soothe an anxious dog in times of stress.