The holiday season is in full swing!  From traditional foods to that cozy fireplace, there are many unsuspecting hazards which can pose a potential threat to our pets.  The Houston SPCA has a few tips to help keep your furry friend safe and happy over the holidays.

  • Proper Identification:  Make sure your pet is wearing proper ID tags (with current information) and has been microchipped in the event he/she dashes out the door and becomes lost.
  • Skip the table scraps & sweets:  Any sudden change in a pet’s diet can cause severe indigestion and diarrhea.  Bones can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy, spicy and fatty foods can also cause stomach upset or even worse – an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.  Sweets can kill, so keep chocolate, desserts, all types of candy and the foil / cellophane wrappers they come in out of your pet’s reach.
  • Yeast Dough / Baking Ingredients:  Keep raw dough out of your pet’s reach.  If eaten, it will expand in your pet’s stomach and could become a life-threatening emergency.  Both baking soda and baking powder are highly toxic, along with nutmeg and other spices.
  • Use caution with alcoholic beverages:   Many holiday plans include adult alcoholic beverages. If ingested, an animal can become sick and weak and possibly go into a coma, which could lead to death due to respiratory failure.
  • Use caution with floral arrangements:  Many festive holiday plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can be toxic to pets. Lilies are especially deadly to cats.
  • Fire Hazards:  If you spark up the fireplace, keep unsuspecting, curious pets away from the sparks and flames and make sure to never leave any lit candle unattended.
  • Christmas Tree Water:  The water that keeps your tree flourishing may contain fertilizers which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and cause vomiting, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea in your pet.
  • Decorations:  Ribbons, tinsel, pine needles and glass tree ornaments, if ingested, can become lodged in your pet’s intestines, causing intestinal blockage. Tape down electrical cords, as chewing on them could cause pets to be badly burned or electrocuted.
  • Unwanted Gift:  Never surprise a friend, spouse or partner with a gift of a pet for the holidays.  A companion animal is for life, not just the holidays.

Remember to always keep a watchful eye on your pets, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Contact your veterinarian or nearest animal emergency clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something that may be toxic or dangerous.

During the holidays, you may also report any suspected occurrence of animal cruelty online at or at 713.869.7722 between the hours of 9am and 5pm, 7 days a week.  Our 24 Hour Animal Rescue Ambulance may also be contacted to help stray, injured animals by calling 713.880.HELP (4357).

For more information or to schedule an interview, please call 713.869.7722 ext.138 or visit