Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe This Christmas


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink…at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments!

Holiday season is here, so we thought we’d remind you of a few safety tips to keep you and your furry friends holly jolly.


  • Your animals will want to partake in the constant feasting, but don’t let them indulge. Sweet, salty, fatty, seasoned foods will make them sick. Remember that bones from roasts are not suitable for your dogs, as they can splinter and cause damage to the mouth, esophagus and intestines.
  • Mistletoe and holly are both poisonous.
  • Avoid a Griswold-style Christmas and make sure your tree is anchored securely so it won’t tip, as well as making sure the strings of lights are out of your pet’s chewing range. Frayed light wires can cause your tree to combust. You will also want to cover the opening in the tree base so your pets can’t lap up the water which will be contaminated with the fertilizer from the tree.
  • Ohh, shiny! Tinsel, you are irresistible–to cats and humans alike. Unfortunately, a string of tinsel ingested by your cat can cause a tremendous amount of trouble, often requiring surgery to remove. The same goes for ribbon.

Have a happy and safe holiday season, everyone!

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