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Albuquerque VetCo

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Pet Safe Christmas Tree

It is my favorite time of year. I love the holiday. I love the lights, and the tree’s, and the cookies, and the presents, and the stockings, and even the music! But if you have pets, the holidays can hold some hidden dangers. 

Regardless of the holidays, if your cat or dog eats anything and becomes lethargic, has excessive diarrhea or vomiting, you should call your Albuquerque vet immediately.

Yule Logs, Cookies, & Treats

This time of year is filled with so many decadent things to eat. From cooking amazing meals to getting wonderful food gifts delivered, there is a lot for us to eat (and gain our holiday 10 lbs). A lot of that food is not just bad for your pets but can be outright dangerous. It’s best to know what to keep away so you keep them out of the veterinary clinic. 


Chocolate is bad for cats and dogs. It is not just bad, it can kill your dog. I know that sounds very extreme but it is true. Dogs are essentially “allergic” to chocolate. Depending on the size of your dog, and the kind of chocolate, it may not take much to make them seriously ill. Though cat’s don’t have the same severity of issue with chocolate that dogs do, it does still make them sick. OH! Hot chocolate is included in this “do not feed” list….just in case you thought there may be an exception.

Keep your chocolate out of reach of your pets, like in a cabinet. Sometime counter tops are not out of reach enough, especially if you have cats that like to get on tables or counter tops. A big culprit of sneaking chocolate to pets is kids. They just think you are trying to keep it away from your pets, just like all food. Many times they don’t realize that it can be deadly. It is a good idea is to explain to your kids why chocolate is bad for you pets so they don’t sneak them any sweet treats. Just because they are bad for your pets doesn’t mean that they wont beg for it, so stay strong and keep the chocolate for the humans.

Table Scraps

A lot of us feed our pets table scraps throughout the year, so you might ask why you can’t give them table scraps now. But Christmas table scraps are different from normal food because of the different ingredients in the holiday feast. Many of the spices used in traditional holiday food is toxic for your pet and can cause some pretty serious reactions, onions and Turkey bones not being the only danger.

Instead of table scraps, give them some healthy treats while you are cooking such as:

  • Raw Carrots
  • Raw or cooked pumpkin
  • Raw broccoli
  • Peanut Butter

Around The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is beautiful but is a veritable hazard for pets. 

Christmas Tree

  • Falling Over: You never think your tree is going to fall over until it does. One year we bought a big tree. It was about twice as tall as we normally get. We had moved into a new house and it could fit a really tall tree. We didn’t realize that a really tall tree needs a different stand than an average size tree. So the tree kept falling over. This is dangerous for so many reasons: 1. It can cause injury to your pet, your kids, or you. 2. It is a fire danger. 3. It could damage something in your house. Make sure your stand is the right size for your tree.
  • Eating the tree: I know it sounds gross but pets love to chew on Christmas trees. It is like when they go into the backyard and chew on plants. Eating the plants is a natural behavior, and in some cases can help digestive issues. But the Fir tree’s, aka. Christmas trees, are not a tree that will help make their tummies feel better. In fact, they will do the opposite. If your pet chews on the tree they may get stomach irritation, vomit, or have diarrhea. 
  • Tree Water: Cats are the biggest culprits of drinking tree water. For some reason they just love it. But tree water is not like tap water, even though you put tap water in your tree stand. Once the base of the tree goes into that water it can release potential hazardous chemicals into the water such as pesticides, preservatives, or fertilizers. It is also common for people to put aspirin into their tree water to help prolong the life of the tree. But even that little amount could be too much of a dosage for your pet and could make them very sick. 

String and Tinsel

We love to put string, tinsel and ribbon on the tree and your pet loves that you put them on. To them they look like wonderfully sparkly toys to play with and chew on. Swallowing string and tinsel can cause serious gastrointestinal problems, so make sure they are either secured firmly to the tree or out of reach of your furry friend.

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights set the mood for the whole season. But do you remember that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when the cat bites the string of lights? Well, as funny as the scene in the movie was, in real life it is not so funny. Cover any wire on the ground with a wire cover (tape will work) to keep exposed wire covered so your dog or cat cannot chew on it.

It is a good idea to simply keep your pets away from the tree. Chewing on it, drinking the water, climbing into it, eating the decorations, chewing on wires, eating wrapping paper, getting caught on ornament hooks, breaking glass ornaments, are just some of the easy to list dangers. The list goes on and on. If you need to, put your tree in a room where your pets can’t go, or put a fence around your tree to keep them away from it. 

At any time if you think your pet has eaten something to make them sick, been injured in any way, it is better to call your Albuquerque veterinarian and get them checked out immediately.