Holiday Pet Hazards

Along with family, friends and cheer, holidays bring potential hazards to your pets! At Mill Creek Animal Clinic, we would like you to be as prepared as possible. So before you deck the halls with holiday décor, please review the hazards listed below.

Everyday Hazards

Electric cords – can cause electrocution if chewed, watch for frayed cords and try to keep cords safely tucked away
Candles – pets can be burned if they rub against them or start fires if they bump candle stands
Antifreeze* – View our article regarding Antifreeze.
Rat/mouse killers – poisonous to larger animals too, place them in areas out of your pets reach
Liquid potpourris – can be ingested causing external and internal damage
Toilet water – houses bacteria and cleaners can be poisonous if ingested
Ice-melting salts – most are toxic to animals, be sure to get ones that are “safe for pets”
Amaryllis bulbs* – poisonous if ingested
Chocolate* – View our article regarding chocolate toxicity.
Foods – the following foods can upset your pets stomach or lead to other intestinal problems: coffee, onions, onion powder, chocolate, avacados, raw yeast dough and moldy, spoiled, salty, fatty or spicy foods.

Over the counter or prescription medication – many drugs that aid us have a different reaction in our pets. Keep your medication away from them and don’t medicate your pets without the advice of a veterinarian.

Winter Safety

We love frolicking in the snow and doing outdoor activities in the brisk air. Our fuzzy friends love joining us in these activities as well!  Just as we keep ourselves safe from the cold and ice, we need to remember that our animal companions need to take similar precautions.  Here are a few safety measures to keep in mind during the colder months.

  1. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  2. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. We have some wonderful products that can help prevent and remove snow, salt, and ice from your animal companion’s paws. Please call our office and speak to any staff member about these products!
  3. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  4. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  5. If you have any questions on safety for your pets, do not hesitate to call our office.  We are here to answer all your questions! We also have some literature in our office, so, please feel free to stop in and speak with any of our staff members!


Christmas decorations are often intriguing to our pets. Ornaments can be chewed or swallowed entirely. Keep your ornaments above your pets’ reach and watch for any dropped ornaments. Glass ornaments should be kept high on the Christmas tree so animals can’t knock them off the tree and play with them.

The stagnant tree water can cause stomach upset if your pet drinks it and the pinesap could be poisonous. Keep the Christmas tree stand covered so your pets can’t access the water.

Cats are notorious for climbing Christmas trees and knocking them over or getting tangled in the decorations. Try to keep your cats away and secure the tree to a wall or the ceiling for safety.

Tinsel and ribbon are often ingested which can bunch up in the intestine and cause a blockage. Pets also eat Styrofoam, wrapping and ornament hooks. Watch your batteries too, since they contain corrosive chemicals, which can cause ulceration.

Holiday plants such as mistletoe can also be poisonous.
As long as you keep an eye on your pets and clean up after decorating and opening presents everyone should have a safe Christmas.


Small toys and decorations can become a potential snack for your pet. Also be wary of your candy bowls and bags so your pets don’t eat any of your “treats”.
Candles are often set low at Halloween for that spooky appearance! Consider placing battery-operated candles on stairways and/or in pumpkins for everyone’s safety.
During the trick or treating hours you may want to lock your pets in their cages or a room away from the activity. Although we enjoy the change in activity, all the people coming and going in costume can make our pets quite uncomfortable and nervous.

New Year’s / Forth of July / Birthdays

Stomach blockages can be caused by the ingestion of confetti, balloons, wrappings, decorations and toys. Pets should be watched around these things.

The fireworks can be scary to our pets, since they are so loud.


During Easter pets may eat the fake grass, small toys and plastic eggs, which can lead to stomach upset and/or blockage.
Many lilies are toxic if ingested. Keep them out of your pets reach.


Thanksgiving is a wonderful season to let family and friends (even the four-legged kind) know that they are appreciated.  As pet owners, we tend to let our furry friends know they are loved by offering treats they normally wouldn’t have, such as turkey, bread, and sweet desserts.  Just like any other time of year, we need to remember not to overindulge our pets. Below are some tips on how to treat your pet.

Gobbling Up Turkey

Please offer fully cooked pieces of turkey.  Uncooked or raw meat can contain bacteria that can cause your pet to become ill.

Sweet Treats

We all know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and should not be a tasty treat.  Also remember that cake batter could also cause illness due to raw eggs.  A lick of cooked pumpkin pie should not be an issue, if you want to give your friend something sweet.  Remember, the best food for your pet is the diet you would normally feed him or her.

Don’t Load Up On Bread

Raw or uncooked dough could rise due to the heat in the animal’s stomach once ingested.  This could cause vomiting, bloating, or pain.  These symptoms could be so severe that the animal may need to go into emergency surgery.

If you like to more information about keeping your pet safe during the holiday season, please review our care tips to the right, or contact our office.

Be sure that you and your guests do not feed the turkey, chicken, and/or duck bones to the pets. These bones are different from the ones and the pet store and splinter easily. This can cause severe internal damage.

Valentine’s Day

This is another time to keep our chocolate away from our pets and to be careful with the bouquets. Bouquets contain many flowers and plants that may be poisonous.

By reading this you have taken the first step to ensure your pets safety. If you believe any of the above has happened to your pet, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. We at Mill Creek Animal Clinic hope you and your pets have safe and happy holidays!

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.