10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

 10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

The holidays are such a fun time of cheer from all the decorations, gifts and good food enjoyed with family and friends.  However, many of the items we enjoy during the holidays can be toxic to our pets.

Signs your pet has been poisoned can be as mild as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, up to more severe signs such as lethargy, seizures, excessive drooling, rapid heart rate and over all not acting themselves.

10 Common Holiday Items Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

1.  Lilies – Lilies are beautiful flowers to have around this time of year, but are extremely poisonous to cats, with as little as a leaf or flower petal having the ability to cause sudden kidney failure.  Similar flowers such as daffodils are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

2.  Poinsettias – Did you know that poinsettias being extremely poisonous to pets is actually a hoax?  While you certainly don’t want to encourage your pet to eat them, it is only mildly toxic causing just nausea and vomiting.

3.  Holly and Mistletoe – Exact toxicity depends on the variety holly and mistletoe, but generally they are mildly toxic, again causing nausea and vomiting though some may cause heart issues.

4.  Christmas Trees and Wreaths – Christmas trees themselves are again only mildly toxic, leading to nausea and vomiting, however if the needles are consumed in excess, this can lead to blockages or having the GI tract get punctured.  Also be aware of any water from the tree – it may contain toxic fertilizers.

5.  Grapes, Raisins and Currants – Just because no one else will eat the fruitcake doesn’t mean you should feed it to the dog!  Grapes, raisins and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs.

6.  Chocolate and Cocoa – The chemicals in both chocolate and cocoa can be highly toxic to both dogs and cats.  Usually small amounts will only lead to vomiting and diarrhea, but larger amounts can equate to seizures, etc.

7. Xylitol – Sugarless gums and candies may contain Xylitol.  While cats can generally tolerate Xylitol, it is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause extremely low blood sugar and liver failure.

8.  Alcohol – It may be a funny thought to give your pet a taste of alcohol, especially after you’ve kicked back a couple yourself.  However, alcohol can be extremely toxic to pets, causing a severe drop in blood sugar and blood pressure or even respiratory issues that can all lead to death.

9.  Fatty Foods – I’ll admit I do often give my cats a taste of chicken or turkey, but don’t over do the fatty foods.  Eating too much can lead to pancreas and liver problems in both cats and dogs.

10.  Liquid Potpourri and Snow Globes: Smelling potpourri can certainly get us in the holiday spirit with all the yummy smells, however if your pet decides to take a drink it can lead to chemical burns and trouble breathing.  Snow Globes, especially imported ones, can contain harmful chemicals, such as antifreeze, that is extremely poisonous and often leads to death in even small amounts.

Other Items to Keep in Mind:

  • Wires, batteries, plastic and glass are all commonly found on decorations, but can be deadly when ingested
  • Tinsel is very attractive for cats with its shine, but can lead to blockages and ruptures and expensive surgery
  • Candles can be an alluring item for pets, until they knock them over  or get burned

If you think your pet may have been poisoned, please take them to the veterinarian immediately or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for advice.  Please note that by calling, you may be billed a consultation fee.  The key to pets surviving poisoning is to get treatment as soon as possible.


  1. Karen Propes says

    Gosh, thanks so much I have never heard of some of the listed items being harmful. I will now start paying attention to my home and what I have in it. Thanks so much.

  2. says

    We have had trouble with acorns too! We have them all over the place and while they aren’t limited to holidays, they are such a pain this time of year!

  3. says

    Wow, I didn’t realize so many Christmas decorations and foods could be harmful to pets! Thanks for sharing this…my puppy will not be getting any fruitcake!

  4. says

    THANK YOU for this!!! I didn’t know about grapes. :/ Not that I would give them any, but they tend to fall on the ground a lot. I always have to yell at my Grandparents for feeding their Granddogs anything and everything!

  5. Amanda says

    I’m so glad I read this! My dog ate a grape that rolled on the floor the other day, and I made a mental note that he liked grapes. I might have given him more later had I not read this. Thanks!

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