We love to decorate our homes for the holidays for ourselves and our guests to enjoy. However, there are some decorations to look out for if you are a pet owner or your guests are bringing their pets over. Some items that we use in our homes around the holidays can be dangerous to our pets.


During the holidays ribbon, string, yarn, and tinsel pose a significant danger to felines and very few cats can resist them. While these stringy decorations are not necessarily poisonous they can be very dangerous to cats causing a linear foreign body if swallowed. A linear foreign body is when the material becomes wrapped around the base of the cat’s tongue or anchor itself in the stomach, making it unable to pass through the intestines. Due to the natural movement of the digestive tract, the foreign material can begin to ‘saw’ through the intestines. Resulting in an intestinal perforation and possible sepsis. Emergency surgery may be necessary.

Liquid Potpourri

Some people enjoy using liquid potpourri or essential oils to fill their home with scents of cinnamon, nutmeg or pine for the holidays. While this pleasant for the people in the home exposure to these liquids can cause serious harm to pets, especially cats. The liquid potpourri formula used in simmer pots typically contains a mixture of detergents and essential oils. Exposure to the detergents used in liquid potpourri can result in chemical burns or ulcerations, tissue necrosis, inflammation, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Essential oils are well absorbed into the oral or GI mucous membrane and may result in dermal sensitivity, tissue irritation, and central nervous system depression. Cats are more sensitive to essential oils than dogs due to their poor ability to metabolize those substances.

Homemade Dough Ornaments

Many of us love to make homemade ornaments with our children or give these ornaments to family and friends as gifs. These are great to have but pet owners need to be aware of the potential dangers. The dough used for these homemade ornaments is typically made of flour, salt, and water. Most recipes call for at least ½ cup of salt. Just a small amount can result in hypernatremia in dogs. Too much salt can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and even seizures. Enjoy your making those beautiful homemade decorations with your kids but just keep them out of reach from your furbabies