10 Holiday Treats That Are Toxic to Pets 

10 Holiday Treats That Are Toxic to Pets 

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, often marked by the presence of delicious treats and festive decorations. However, as pet owners, it’s essential to be aware of the hidden dangers these holiday items can pose to our beloved animals. This guide highlights ten common holiday treats that are toxic to pets and offers advice on how to keep your pets safe during these festive times. Remember, if you have any concerns or need professional advice, the team at Schertz Animal Hospital is just a phone call away at (210) 659-0345.




  1. Chocolate: Chocolate is a well-known hazard for pets, especially dogs. Theobromine and caffeine, two substances found in chocolate, are highly toxic to canines and other pets. Even a small amount can lead to serious health issues such as heart problems, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
  2. Xylitol: Xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies, gum, and baked goods, is extremely toxic to pets. Ingestion can lead to a rapid release of insulin in dogs, causing hypoglycemia, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination.
  3. Grapes and Raisins: Many pet owners are unaware that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. Even a small amount can be dangerous, and symptoms like vomiting and lethargy can appear within a day.
  4. Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic, often used in holiday cooking, can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells in pets, leading to anemia. This is true for raw, cooked, or powdered forms. Be cautious with holiday leftovers and ensure they are out of reach of curious pets.
  5. Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages and food items containing alcohol can be harmful to pets. Even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, coma or death.
  6. Nuts: Certain nuts, like macadamia nuts and almonds, can be harmful to pets. Macadamia nuts are particularly toxic, causing symptoms like weakness, vomiting, and hyperthermia in dogs.
  7. Yeast Dough: Unbaked yeast dough can expand in your pet’s stomach, leading to bloating and potentially twisting of the stomach, which is a medical emergency. Also, as the dough ferments, it produces alcohol, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
  8. Bones and Fat Trimmings: Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking or severe internal injuries, while fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis in pets. It’s best to avoid giving these to your pets, no matter how much they beg.
  9. Coffee and Tea: Caffeine in coffee, tea, and certain soft drinks can be toxic to pets. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors.
  10. Artificial Sweeteners and Other Ingredients: Be wary of artificial sweeteners and other ingredients in holiday treats that may not be well-known but can be harmful to pets. Always check the ingredients and when in doubt, keep it away from your pets.

The Importance of Keeping Toxic Treats Away from Pets

Keeping our pets safe from harmful holiday treats requires vigilance and preventive measures. As responsible pet owners, it’s our duty to ensure that these dangerous items are kept well out of our pets’ reach. Pets, especially dogs, can be incredibly curious and resourceful when it comes to finding food, so it’s essential to be proactive.

Preventive Strategies for Pet Safety

  • Secure Storage: Store all hazardous foods in secure, pet-proof containers and cabinets.
  • Pet-Proofing the Environment: During holidays, ensure that your home is pet-proofed by keeping treats on high shelves or in closed rooms.
  • Educate the Family: Make sure everyone in the household understands the risks these foods pose to pets and the importance of keeping them away.

What to Do If Your Pet Ingests a Toxic Treat

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic:

  • Don’t Panic: Stay calm, as your pet can pick up on your anxiety.
  • Assess the Situation: Try to determine what your pet ate, how much, and when.
  • Contact a Professional: Immediately call Schertz Animal Hospital at (210) 659-0345. They can provide specific advice based on what your pet has consumed.
  • Follow Instructions: You may be advised to bring your pet in immediately or to monitor them for symptoms.
  • Prevent Further Access: Ensure no other pets can access the toxic substance.
  • Be Prepared: Keep the contact details of Schertz Animal Hospital and an emergency vet handy at all times.

Remember, time is often critical in these situations. Fast action can make a significant difference in the outcome for your pet. Schertz Animal Hospital is equipped to provide guidance and treatment, helping to ensure the well-being of your beloved pet.

Keeping Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

The holidays should be a time of happiness and togetherness, not a trip to the emergency vet. By being aware of these common holiday hazards and keeping them out of your pet’s reach, you can ensure a safe and joyful season for everyone. If you’re ever in doubt or need advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to Schertz Animal Hospital at (210) 659-0345. We’re here to help ensure your pets stay safe and healthy throughout the holiday season and beyond.

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