The Paw Print Genetics Blog

Holiday Pet Safety

Holiday Pet Safety

‘Tis the season of holiday festivities. Delicious food, and festive decorations, and holiday parties – oh my! While these activities are exciting and fun, they can pose potential dangers to your pets. The holidays are expensive enough as it is, don’t let an emergency trip to the vet make an even larger dent in your wallet! By educating yourself on the following, you can avoid a jingle bell flop.

Food Safety:

Whether you are cooking or eating holiday meals, it can sometimes be tempting to share some with those big puppy dog eyes looking up to you. However, you should avoid feeding your pets scraps as many holiday foods can cause more harm than good. In addition, be careful where you place your food in case you have any counter-surfing pets who will grab food from the table when you’re not looking.

  • If your pet eats a large amount of fatty meat, such as ham, it can potentially cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea due to the high salt and sodium content within the meat.
  • Chocolate and other desserts are a holiday staple. However, chocolate in particular is very harmful to pets because it contains caffeine and theobromine which are toxic to your animals. Plus, no dessert for your animal means even more dessert for you!
  • After making a wish with the leftover wishbone, be sure to discard it with the other turkey bone remains. If an animal gets to the turkey bones, it can pose a real risk to them by potentially splitting and causing internal damage.


We don’t know about you, but we think decorating is one of the best parts of the holiday season! From putting up a Christmas tree, hanging lights, and displaying ornate decorations, there is nothing more special. Unfortunately, sometimes these decorations can be a safety hazard to our beloved pets if not thought through completely.

  • If you buy real Christmas trees, it is important to keep an eye on your pets. While they are typically fine as a decoration, they can be toxic and cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested. Oils on pine needles and fertilizers in the water can make your pets very sick.
  • Speaking of plants, if you are decorating with festive plants such as mistletoe or holly, be sure to hang it where your pet cannot reach. Both plants contain toxic chemicals and can cause issues in your pet if a large amount is ingested.
  • As nice as tree decorations may look, it is important that you decorate smart for your pet. If you have a mischievous pet, hang your ornaments where your pet cannot reach. If a decoration breaks and your pet gets to it, they may find themselves cut from a shattered ornament or hurt from swallowing something they shouldn’t.   


As the famous lyrics say, “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting…” As you host these parties throughout the holiday season, be sure to follow the following precautions to make sure your gatherings are full of cheer, rather than fear.

  • Ask your guests to be careful with where they set things down, especially if they are enjoying a holiday beverage. Between the alcohol content and the sugar, alcoholic beverages can be lethal to your pets if consumed. Be sure to keep these drinks away from where your pet can access them to avoid potential danger.
  • If your pet suffers from noise or people anxiety, create a safe, quiet space for them away from the party, where they can feel comfortable. Be sure to check on them often throughout your festivities.
  • If your pet is roaming during the party, ask your guests to be careful of open doors. Whether your pet is an escape artist, or just gets nervous, gatherings are a prime time for pets to run away. Be diligent of ensuring they stay inside the house, and in extra precaution, have your pet wear a collar, be microchipped, or DNA Profiled in the case of a runaway animal.

While preparing for the holiday season, also prepare these steps. If your pet eats something they are not supposed to, or something happens, be sure to call their vet right away. Become familiar with your veterinarian’s hours, as many may be closed during the holidays. In addition, take note of your local emergency vet or on call vet’s contact information in case of an emergency. We hope these next few months are full of joy, love and safety! From us at Neogen, happy holidays!


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