Pet safety at Christmas: Three holiday dangers lurking in your home

Pet safety at Christmas. A dog enjoys Christmas with his owners
(Image credit: Getty)

Pet safety at Christmas is actually a big deal. Sure, it's a lovely time of year that you can celebrate with your family and furbabies, but there are plenty of things that are in your home during the holiday season that are dangerous for your pets. Decorations, festive food, and seasonal plants all pose threats for your pets, so let's make sure pet safety at Christmas is part of the plan. 

Christmas food

There are several Christmas foods that are toxic for pets that go beyond the typical things like chocolate. Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats, but there's a lot more festive food you should keep away from your four-legged friends. 

Avoid hanging any chocolate treats on a tree or placing them underneath the tree, as that may tempt your cat or dog to try and get at them. And as far as other foods go that may be around during the holiday, keep them off of low-lying tables, the floor, or any other place your dog or cat can get to them. Toxic foods include Christmas pudding, grapes, dried vine fruits, onions, garlic, certain nuts, and mince pies. 

When in doubt about whether or not a food is safe for your pet, err on the side of caution and don't give it to them!

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations are a guaranteed part of the holiday season, whether it's artificial or real Christmas trees, tinsel, plastic or glass ornaments, and sparkling lights. Unfortunately, a lot of these items pose a risk to both canines and felines, the latter of which may not be able to fight the urge to climb and play on them. 

What is Christmas without the decorations to make your home truly sparkle? From artificial Christmas trees and tinsel to plastic or glass decorations, all of these sadly pose a huge risk to both canines and felines alike. For cats, they’re also super intriguing things to climb and play with. Check out this article for top tips on how to cat proof your christmas tree

Other things to keep away from your precious pets are decorative candles, potpourri, and wrapping paper, all of which can cause choking or intestinal blockages if eaten. 

Christmas plants

Christmas is a time for decorating the home with holly, ivy, and mistletoe, and buying a beautiful poinsettia for your festive table centrepiece. However, some of these plants can cause irritation to your pet’s mouth and stomach leading to the overproduction of saliva and potential vomiting if chewed or ingested. It’s not just poinsettias so be sure to be aware of which houseplants hold hidden dangers for your moggy.

Although it may not be possible to keep all of these things away from your pets during Christmas, it’s important to be wary of any behavioural changes as this may be a sign that they’ve gotten their paws on something they shouldn’t have. If you are concerned about your pets welfare, you must contact your vet immediately. 

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website,, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!