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8 gifts you get that can harm your pets

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan



One of the best parts of the holiday season is the joy you feel when you give someone a gift they really love. And while we wouldn’t purposely share our own gifts with our pets, sometimes curiosity (and appetite) just gets the better of them. When pets get a hold of presents meant for two-legged friends, a trip to the emergency clinic may be in your future.

 

When you’re planning your gift giving for pet lovers this season, pay attention to things that may be dangerous for the four-legged members of the household, and give the gift recipient a heads up. Not sure what’s dangerous and what’s safe? I’ve compiled a list of common holiday gifts just for you!

 

Alcohol. While it’s doubtful that any pet will be able to open a bottle of wine on their own, they may be exposed to it via unattended drinks at a party. Another forgotten source of alcohol is alcohol drenched foods. Rum balls, fruitcakes and the like are all tempting treats that pack an alcoholic punch. Many of these alcohol-infused desserts also contain raisins or currants, making them doubly toxic.

 

Caffeine. Whether it’s bags of fancy coffee or chocolate covered coffee beans (double hazard!), caffeine is dangerous to pets.




Ribbons from gifts. While I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to wrapping gifts, my mom goes all out, making each present more beautiful than the last. When it comes time to open your nicely wrapped gifts, make sure you properly dispose of the ribbons, as they are too tempting for our feline friends. If ingested, they can turn into a linear foreign body, which in turn will lead to serious illness for your cat. This applies to tinsel on your tree, too.

 

Marijuana. While it’s not legal in most states, there are a few states where marijuana is a perfectly acceptable gift. When it’s incorporated into edibles, your pets may find it to be fair game for munching. If your pet has gotten into your stash, there’s a good chance you’ll be road trippin’ to the nearest veterinary clinic. If that’s the case, don’t be shy about telling your vet what your pet got into — even if you live in a state where pot isn’t legal yet. Your secret will be safe with your vet, who only wants the best for your pet.

 

Home beer brewing kit. Home brews and craft brews are all the rage, but one ingredient used in brewing can be toxic to your pets. Hops, whether it’s yet to be used or leftover from a brew, can cause extreme fever. Check out this blog for more info.




Chocolates and sugar-free candy containing xylitol. You know chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you know some sugar-free candies and gums are potentially hazardous as well? In high enough quantities, both chocolate and xylitol-containing products can kill your dog. Keep these things out of reach (or better yet, eat them all up at once! Doctor’s orders!).

 

Batteries. Don’t ask me why pets eat things like batteries. I don’t know. But, as crazy as it sounds, they do. Once ingested, batteries wreak havoc on the intestinal tract, from blockage to chemical burns. Keep toys and gadgets containing batteries out of pet’s reach.

 

Flower arrangements containing lilies. Lilies are a potent cat killer. I cannot stress the dangers of lilies enough. Simply grooming lily pollen off of their coats can be deadly for cats. If you’re buying flowers for a cat owner, skip the lilies, please.

 

I realize this list sounds like the perfect ingredients for a really good holiday party, and I would never want to deter you from that. I just want you and your pet to have a safe holiday season, so when you are giving and receiving gifts, please keep your pet’s health in mind!

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