Eight Holiday Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season is a time of celebration and lots of activity. If you have a pet in the house, the extra activity, decorations and added temptations could result in an injury and a trip to your veterinarian. Here are eight holiday pet safety tips.

Take extra steps when decorating. Anchoring the tree, securing light cords, and avoid using tinsel to prevent injuries. If you have a tree, hang breakable ornaments high up or avoid them altogether if they are an issue for your pets.


Skip the holiday temptations. Needles, hooks, ribbons, foil, tinsel, and other holiday items that look festive to us look like toys to many pets and can cause injuries if eaten. Some other items that can cause issues include – imported snow globes that have been found to contain antifreeze and liquid potpourri has chemicals that can be deadly to cats.

Watch seasonal plants. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, berries, and lilies are all very popular this time of year. They are also toxic to pets and can cause an upset stomach. Lilies in particular are hazardous and can cause kidney failure in cats. Chemicals in tree water can also be a danger.

Avoid people food and table scraps. A change in diet, even for one meal, can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea in cats and dogs. Grapes, raisins, and currants can result in kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate and cocoa are highly toxic to both cats and dogs and macadamia nuts can cause seizures. The sweetener xylitol can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Fatty leftovers and table scraps can trigger pancreatitis and bones also present a danger.

Look for pet-friendly options. Check with your local pet store for a variety of healthy treats and goodies made specifically for your pet. Keep a selection on hand for your pet and any visiting pet instead of giving pets people food.

Give your pet some space. Set up an area for your pet in a quiet room where they can be safe from the extra commotion of the holidays. It will also help cut down their potential to escape as company comes and goes.

Look for pet-friendly activities. Many area dog parks, shelters, rescues and pet daycare facilities offer a variety of pet-friendly activities during the holidays. It’s a great opportunity to include your more outgoing pet in fun activities outside the home.


Be prepared in case of an emergency. You should always have an emergency plan just in case something happens to your pet.

  • Know where the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital is located and the best route to get there.
  • Keep a list handy that includes your pet’s medications, special dietary needs, allergies, and other important information about your pet in case you do need to visit an emergency hospital when your veterinarian is closed.
  • Consider getting pet insurance so that you will be prepared if there is an emergency.

Accidents and illnesses do happen to pets, even when you follow pet safety tips. Veterinary Specialty Center’s Emergency and Critical Care Department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our 24-hour emergency facility is located and we can be reached at 847.459.7535. If you’re coming into our emergency room, it does help to call in advance if possible or get in line at 2051 Waukegan Road in Bannockburn online for non-urgent cases.



Starting Monday, April 8th through the end of September, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin their road resurfacing project along Waukegan Road from Lake Cook Road to Half Day Road (IL 22). Please allow additional travel time to our hospital during the construction. Learn More: Waukegan Road Resurfacing Project