Holiday Safety Tips for Dogs

Adorable dog wearing a reindeer hat. Concerned about holiday safety for dogs.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for most of us. The decorations, food, gifts, and get-togethers all help us to reflect on the previous year and look forward to the next one. If you have dogs, you naturally want to include them in the festivities. Knowing and avoiding the extra holiday-time dangers that face your dog will allow you both to thoroughly enjoy the season. Let's take a tour around a holiday-ready home with Rudolph, the best danger-sniffing dog in the business.

When we enter the beautifully decorated holiday home, the first thing Rudolph heads toward is the Christmas tree. Rudolph is right! The tree is a source of several dangers for dogs trying to get in on the seasonal fun.

Dog sitting under a Christmas tree.

The Christmas Tree

Let's look at the hidden threats that this holiday centerpiece can pose:

We're done with Christmas tree hazards, Rudolph. Why are you still sitting near it? Oh! You're right: the gifts can also be a source of canine peril.


Puppy sitting in a gift box during Christmas. Dog Health.

How could wrapped gifts be hazardous to dogs? Let's take a look:

Rudolph seems to be finished checking out the tree now and is now sniffing his way toward the end table. He's found a lighted candle!

Candles and Potpourri

Candles and similar items are another source of risk for dogs during the holidays or any time.

Where are you heading now, Rudolph? Ah, the kitchen. One of a dog's favorite places all year but especially during the holidays. Rudolph sure knows his stuff; there are lots of dog menaces lurking here.

Dog stealing Santa's cookies.

Dog-Dangerous Foods

Many human foods are dangerous for dogs to consume.

Make sure you are diligent about the foods that your dog has access to from you, from your guests, lying around in reachable areas, or in unsecured trash cans. You can learn more about human foods that are dangerous for dogs in the slideshow "Foods Toxic to Dogs."

Dog in snow, potential danger from de-icer and antifreeze during the holidays.

What on earth is Rudolph doing now? What could possibly be dangerous in the guest bedroom, on the bedside table? Oh! Right again, Rudolph! Aunt Maude's medication is within your reach.


Human medications should always be assumed to be toxic to dogs. This is the case for prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Your guests may not be aware that your dog could get into their medication and be harmed so it's best to mention to them to keep it secured.

It looks like Rudolph may be finished finding holiday hazards in the house: he's heading outside to play. Nope! He's stopped on the porch, next to the bag of de-icer that was put there for easy-access. We don't want guests slipping on the stairs.

De-Icer and Anti-Freeze

There are extra hazards for dogs outside during the winter.

Happy Holiday Dog

Rudolph, you've done a fine job of sniffing out the extra dangers that threaten dogs in our homes during the holidays. Now that we've made our home safe for Rudolph and his pals, we can all get down to the business of enjoying the season.

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Foods Toxic to Dogs - Slideshow

Poisonous Plants For Dogs

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