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Holiday Dangers for Dogs

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Holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are my favorite time of year.

woman kissing chihuahua with Christmas tree in background

But I have had several bad things happen to pets at this time of year too. There are so many holiday dangers for dogs at this time of year.

Which is why I’m writing this. I want to warn you about what can happen to your fur babies if you aren’t careful.

The most recent thing to happen to one of our pets happened a few years ago to Odie, my daughter’s French Bulldog.

He was a puppy at the time. He doesn’t live with me but I babysit dog-sit him 3-4 days a week.

This didn’t happen while he was with me.

Mr. Odie took an ornament off the tree and ate it! Thank God it wasn’t glass or it would have been much more serious.

It was metal and wood I believe. He had to have his stomach pumped at the emergency vet. Poor baby!

A much worse thing happened about 10 years ago when my oldest daughter still lived at home.

She had a sweet little Beagle named Tripp.


I had received several large chocolate bars from my boss as a Christmas gift and I put them up on the kitchen bar, which should have been too high for any of the dogs to reach.

I noticed the next day, they were gone but figured my son or someone else in the family ate them. Well someone else did eat them but it wasn’t a human family member.

Somehow Tripp found a way to get those candy bars off the bar and ate them.

Do you know how we found out he ate them?

He died.

He was fine when I left that morning for a hair appointment. When I came back a few hours later, he was dead.

We had no idea why he died so the vet did an autopsy and found the candy bar wrappers in his stomach.

It was the caffeine in the chocolate that killed him.

I have carried a lot of guilt about this over the years since they were my candy bars and I left them on the counter.

So rule number one: Never leave food that is toxic to dogs out, even if you believe your dog won’t be able to reach it.

You can read this article if you’d like to know what foods and other things are toxic to dogs: 20 Dangerous Things To Keep Away From Your Chihuahua

chihuahua standing over a roasted turkey

So you may wonder what kind of food to keep away from dogs. Here’s a list of typical holiday foods:

  • Fruit cake it’s often soaked in alcohol which can be toxic to dogs since they absorb alcohol so much faster than humans. They also usually contain raisins, currants, and candied grapes. All those are toxic to dogs.
  • Turkey Bones These are brittle and your dog can easily choke on them.
  • Turkey A little bite or two is fine, but too much will give them the runs.
  • Chocolate or anything with Caffeine. Toxic and can kill as I found out the hard way.
  • Xylitol or Birch Sugar is a sweetener often found in gum, candy, peanut butter, and some baked goods. It’s toxic to dogs and can kill them.
  • Macadamia Nuts very toxic to dogs.
  • Bread dough that has yeast in it. If your dog eats it, it will expand in his stomach and can cause serious damage.
  • Alcohol This can be dangerous (especially to small dogs) as they absorb it very quickly and can get alcohol poisoning.

2 longhair Chihuahuas sitting with garland with Christmas balls

Other things to be careful about:

  • Live Trees–  If your dog eats the pine needles, they could puncture her intestines. Some of the needles are also toxic. The stuff they put in the tree water is also poisonous to pets. And the sap from the tree that leaks into the water may be toxic.
  • Artificial Trees-the needles can cause bowel perforations and obstruction if ingested.
  • Tinsel– Cats seem more attracted to this than dogs but either way, if your pet eats this, it will block their intestines.
  • Ornament Hooks- Watch out for these. Obviously dangerous if your dog eats one, it can also hurt if they (or you) step on one the wrong way. Believe me, I know! I stepped on one when decorating the tree. Ouch!
  • Ornaments– Keep them off the lower branches that your dog may reach or keep your tree blocked off from your dog.
  • Edible Ornaments and Garlands such as Gingerbread ornaments, Cranberry, or Popcorn garlands may be tempting for your dog to try to pull off your tree so it’s best to skip these.
  • Electrical Cords– Keep these covered if you have a dog that likes to chew on them.
  • Candles and Hot Scented Wax Tarts– I’ll be Captain Obvious here and just tell you to keep these out of reach of your dog (or your dog’s wagging tail) to keep them, and you from getting burned.
  • Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Japanese Yew, and Holly- Depending on the type, some will just cause a tummy ache while other plants will cause death!
  • Antifreeze– It used to have a sweet taste that attracted animals to drink it and it’s highly toxic if ingested. Now, companies that make antifreeze have added something to their formulas to make it less attractive to animals.BUT there is still plenty of the old stuff still around and sometimes it leaks out of cars and makes puddles. So watch your dog when walking her.
  • Salted walks and roads– The chemicals they put in these salts that keep ice off the sidewalks are often toxic. They get stuck to your dog’s paws and then are ingested when he licks the salt off. Keep booties on your dog when outside in the winter or wipe your dog’s paws when you come in after a walk.
  • Holiday Guests- If your guests visiting, they may not be aware or careful about things. Such as they may feed your dog things that they are not aware that is toxic. Or they may leave their handbags on the floor where your dog can get into it and find things that could hurt him such as medications, gum with Xylitol, etc.
  • Batteries– Most dogs will not be interested in batteries but I caught my puppy playing with one. He was rolling it on the floor and then chasing after it. These can be choking hazards and poisonous if ingested.
  • Flames and Lit Candles– Most of us enjoy having a fire in the fireplace and lit candles during the holidays. Just be sure your dog cannot reach them.
  • Cords, Electrical lights, and wires– they are a lot more of these laying around so make sure your pets can’t get to them and chew on them. The unfortunate cat in the movie  “Christmas Vacation” comes to mind.
  • Bows and ribbons-from wrapped presents and decorations, can cause issues if ingested.

Have I forgotten anything? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list. Let’s all keep our fur babies safe!

Oh, also check out this article for more things to keep away from your Chi: Prevent Your Dog From Being Poisoned.


Dangerous things in the Fall for dogs

Safe fruit for dogs

Thanksgiving dangers for dogs

Chihuahua dog with Christmas bows on head

Wendy Williams

Friday 17th of December 2021

I'm so sorry to hear about your dear Beagle Tripp, poor Angel. What a beauty he was. This really upset me xxx


Friday 17th of December 2021

I'm sorry it upset you, Wendy. I didn't mean for it to. I just wanted to let people know how easy it is for our pets to get into something and hurt themselves if we aren't diligent. Tripp was a handsome boy with loads of personality. I really feel bad for my daughter. Tripp was her baby and she loved him so much. She hasn't gotten a dog since then because she doesn't want to love something that much again and then lose it. And that breaks my heart for her.


Monday 30th of December 2019

Tennis balls are harmful to chis. They swallow the fur on it. It causes pain for the dog and hopefully poops it out and feel better and pain free


Monday 30th of December 2019

True if you have a dog that likes to chew on them. We have the mini tennis balls and my dogs just like to chase them and bring them back to you. All the fuzz is still on the balls.

Patsy Jones

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Love them. I buy my Talullahs outfits from them also. She is a four pound chi. Love my furbaby.


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

A lot of people like Wish for dog clothes it seems.

Thursday 24th of January 2019

Sounds like Christmas brought some dog incidents poor little guys but dogs are like children ... can't keep an eye on them every minute glad all was good in the end. My chihauhau's MISS me whenever I'm out so I sometimes take them for a car ride to 'brighten' up their moods they get ' hut happy' too.

Dixie J Greschuk

Saturday 17th of November 2018

I would like to add one issue with protection for chis and all other breeds to keep them safe. I and my hub and our son think that when they found Pinto wandering around the quick stop so tired and hungry and thirsty, he had gotten out of his owner's car without the owner noticing and while the owner was inside buying or paying for gas so the owner did not know Pinto wasn't in the car and drove off. Probably did not notice Pinto being gone until about a hundred miles away from Tyler and did not know what to do or where to look for Pinto. I look at Pinto and I see a beautiful and very expensive deer head who had been well taken care of. His chip and the tag had phone numbers but they had been disconnected. So if you stop someplace along the way to family Christmas, be sure to check that your furbaby is still in the car when you drive away.


Saturday 17th of November 2018

Good advise and also make sure the chip info is up to date.