Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital

10855 South 48th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85048



Holiday Hazards For Pets

The holidays are fun, even for pets, but the season brings added danger for animal companions. Learn to recognize and manage holiday hazards to keep your pet safe during the festivities.


Tinsel dangers - Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital and Pet Resort

Tinsel is attractive, especially to cats. Tinsel is not toxic but consuming tinsel can cause serious harm to your pet's digestive system. The long tough stands can actually cut through the intestine and cause peritonitis.


ornaments are dangerous to pets - Ahwatukee Animal Care HospitalPets love to play with bright, colorful ornaments, but may end up breaking or even chewing and swallowing these fragile decorations. Sharp, broken pieces can lacerate the pet's mouth, throat, and digestive tract. Larger pieces can cause an obstruction and emergency surgery may be required.

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees and pets - Ahwatukee Animal Care HospitalCats love to climb trees, especially when the tree is indoors and loaded with ornaments and other decorations that look a lot like cat toys. A climbing cat can pull a fully decorated Christmas tree crashing to the ground, potentially injuring the cat. Tree water may contain dangerous fertilizers and stagnant tree water may contain unhealthy bacteria.

Mistletoe, Holly and Lilies


Consuming Holly may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Eating Mistletoe can result in stomach upset and even heart problems. A cat may suffer kidney failure after ingesting some types of Lilies.


A dog or cat that eats chocolate may experience vomiting and diarrhea, panting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and, in severe cases, even death. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic to pets compounds it contains.

Turkey Meat and Bones

Dogs and cats love turkey, but this holiday fare may be dangerous to their health. The immediate pet hazard associated with turkey are the tiny bones that, if swallowed, may cause painful constipation or even splinter to perforate the stomach, both conditions require immediate veterinary attention. Feeding rich and fatty food like that served at holiday parties
can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even inflammation of the pancreas. Raw or undercooked turkey can contain Salmonella, E. coli, or Campylobacter bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.


The herb sage contains essential oils and resins that add flavor to turkey and other holiday foods, but this herb can cause an upset stomach and even nervous system problems in pets, especially cats.


Consuming raw bread dough is dangerous for pets, as heat from the pet's body causes the dough to rise inside the pet's stomach. The pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.

Any pet encountering these holiday hazards may require immediate veterinary care for a complete examination, blood tests, x-rays, medications, laceration repair, and even surgery. Prompt veterinary care can help reduce the risk for serious illness and/or lessen the chances for complications from injury associated with holiday hazards. A veterinarian can perform tests to determine whether a pet has suffered serious injury from chewing on or swallowing ornaments, swallowing tiny bones,  fatty foods, poisonous foods, or playing with seasonal decorations. 

Make this holiday season a happy one for everyone, including your pet(s), by keeping pets safe from these potential holiday hazards.

If your pet encounters one of these holiday hazards, contact us immediately!  (480) 893-0533 (during regular business hours)

Outside our regular business hours, please call one of the Animal Emergency numbers listed on our Emergencies page.