How to keep your pets safe, healthy and happy over the holidays

Learn about safe vs. unsafe food, household spots to watch, and other things that may surprise you!

Happy holidays everyone! Your pal Ru here.

Isn’t Christmas just the best?! Not only are all my friends and family home to visit, but I get to watch the snow fall, help the team pick out presents…AND Santa brings me all my favourite things!


We get so busy thinking about all the fun and excitement the holidays bring — the family, food, parties, gifts… We often forget about the toxins and hazards around the house that can make your pet sick or injured.

People Food is Not Pet Food

Holiday food staples may be delicious to us but they can be toxic for pets. Most people know about the usual items you shouldn’t give your pets — like chocolate and alcohol — but here are some you might not have considered.

Grapes & Raisins

While grapes and raisins are just about everywhere at Christmas: fruit cakes, figgy duff, cookies — you name it! They can cause vomiting, gastrointestinal upset and even kidney failure in dogs and cats.

Keep cakes, cookies and chocolates tucked away in a sealed container or in the fridge where pets can’t access them. And remember not to leave food gifts under the tree either!

Xylitol Sweetener

Xylitol is a popular sweetener in keto and diabetic treats, and can be found in everyday foods too like peanut butter, ice cream, and jam. It is also extremely toxic to cats and dogs and can lead to liver failure or death.

If your pets are begging for a treat, try giving them Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies for dogs or PureBites Freeze-Dried Cat Treats.

“Dogs deserve Christmas cookies too! Dodger loves the PB & Honey ones, and I love that they’re made with simple, real ingredients.”
Robert Greeley (@robertgreeleyy), dog dad to Dodger and Global Pet Foods Ambassador

Photo courtesy: Robert Greeley


Plain turkey is not inherently bad for pets and it can be found in many nutritious, high-quality pet foods your pets love. However, Christmas turkey can make your pets super sick. Additions like butter, oils, seasonings, onions, and garlic can be toxic to pets and lead to gastrointestinal issues or even pancreatitis.

You also shouldn’t give your dog turkey bones to chew on. They can splinter easily, which can be a choking hazard or puncture and block their digestive system. Instead, try giving them a proven pet-safe raw, frozen turkey neck or bone chew.


Photo courtesy: Naturawls

Household Hazards

Besides food, there are many other household hazards you should be aware of during the holidays.

Christmas Trees

Cats and dogs alike can be tempted to play with decorations or chew on string lights dangling from the tree. These can lead to choking, strangulation, cuts, and many other injuries.

Take care when putting up your tree. Avoid placing hanging decorations near the bottom of your tree, and secure lights to branches with twist ties or pipe cleaners. And remember to always unplug the tree when your pets are home alone.

Holiday Plants

Plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and lilies can all make your pet sick and cause gastrointestinal upset. If you have these in your home, keep them in a spot your pets can’t access them, like a high shelf.

Alternatively, stick to synthetic, pet-safe plants, or choose decorative outdoor holiday shrubs instead.

Tinsel and Ribbon

Stringy decorations may look like a cat’s dream — but they can be your worst nightmare.

Tinsel, ribbon, scraps of wrapping paper, and other stringy plastic or fabric can result in choking or blockages — as well as costly procedures that you didn’t plan for. Even if your pet manages to pass the objects, it can be very uncomfortable or painful for them.

Providing interactive toys like puzzles and food dispensing toys are a great way to keep their mind active and make them less tempted to go after the things they shouldn’t. Cats love feather or rope cat toys, and no dog can have too many interactive toys to keep them stimulated.


Photo courtesy: ZippyPaws

Stressful Situations

The holidays can be especially stressful on pets as their routines may be disrupted and they face new situations and people. You can reduce your pet’s stress over the holidays by planning in advance.

Try to stick to their feeding and walk times as close as possible. When you have visitors or there are fireworks, make sure your pets have their own place to eat and lie down away from the commotion. To keep them calm and reduce anxiety, your pet may also benefit from a calming vest, natural calming supplements, or even pheromone diffusers like Feliway or Adaptil.


Photo courtesy: Ceva Animal Health

Have a Safe, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

Pets are undeniably part of the family and we all want them to be part of the holiday fun. Even though your pet could encounter lots of hazards or toxins during the holidays, you can keep them safe, healthy and happy.

Remember to keep human food away from your pets (even if that means reminding Great Aunt Betty not to feed them from the table), safety proof your home, and keep fun, enriching toys on hand. If you run low on any of those helpful pet essentials but are too busy to get to the store, you can always order online and get it delivered!

Want more ideas on how to keep your pets safe, happy and healthy this holiday season? Visit us in-store on Torbay Road. Our expert Pet Care Specialists are pet parents themselves and they love sharing their tips and recommendations, especially when it comes to nutrition and enrichment.

Plus, sign up for the Global Pet Foods St. John’s newsletter using the link below and get 20% off your next purchase great for getting your stocking stuffers!


– RuPaul


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