7 Dangerous Gifts to Never Give Your Pets

Your family and friends probably aren’t the only ones who will be getting something special from you this holiday season — we bet you’ll be giving your pet a gift, too. But whether it’s an extra yummy treat or an awesome new toy, it’s important to make sure that the presents you give your cat or dog are actually safe for him to enjoy.

A trip to the veterinary emergency room during the holidays is a surefire way to ruin your festivities, so we’re sharing seven dangerous gifts you shouldn’t give your dog or cat.

Gifts You Should Never Give Your Pet

Dog chewing holiday bone


Turkey, Chicken and Other Meat Bones

Of all the gifts your dog could get this year, leftover turkey and chicken bones seem like they would be pretty high on his wish list. But no amount of begging is worth the risk of giving him a meat bone. Any bones, including turkey, chicken, pork and fish bones — whether they’re raw or cooked — can shatter or splinter in your dog’s intestinal tract or cause intestinal blockage (or worse). Plus, bones and bone fragments can be choking hazards.

Cats with toy mouse


Dangerous Toys

If a toy is specifically made for pets, it must be safe, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Cat owners shouldn’t give their kitties toys that have string, ribbon or yarn, since these can get stuck in the intestines if accidentally swallowed. And before giving your cat a toy mouse, make sure any glued-on eyes or noses are removed. Dog owners should think twice about giving their pups balls that are too small, toys with string or ribbon, or toys stuffed with beads or beans. It’s better to be safe than sorry: If a toy seems like it could be dangerous, keep it away from your pet.

Christmas dinner


Your Rich or Fatty Leftovers

After a big holiday meal, you may feel like your pup deserves to indulge a little, too. Before you feed him your leftovers, consider this: Too much rich holiday fare could lead to pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening disease often characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. If that’s not bad enough, some of the items on your plate could contain toxic ingredients like garlic, onions and raisins. If you must give your pet a taste of your holiday dinner, make sure the portion is small and doesn’t contain any toxic or rich ingredients.

Cat in tinsel


Tinsel, Garland and Other Holiday Decor

It’s shiny, it’s crinkly and your cat probably loves to play with it, but tinsel isn’t safe to give your pet. If your kitty accidentally swallows this popular holiday decoration, it could harm his intestines and require surgery for removal. The same goes for garland and other long, stringy holiday decor. Keep it out of reach of your pet — or better yet, don’t decorate with it at all.

Chocolate gelt



Go ahead and keep all that gelt you won spinning the dreidel for yourself — chocolate can be poisonous for pets. Chocolate contains two toxic ingredients: caffeine and theobromine. In general, the more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your animal. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, panting and seizures.

Dog in Santa costume


Holiday Outfits That Don’t Fit

Santa hats and reindeer ears are certainly adorable on pets, but you should make sure the outfit isn’t too big or too small. It also shouldn’t have any loose bells, strings or other potentially harmful items. And you should make sure your pet doesn’t mind wearing clothes — pawing at or shaking off the outfit is a sign your pet isn’t a fan.

Christmas cookies


Sugar-Free Baked Goods or Candy

One of the best things about the holidays is when a neighbor drops off a plate of delicious sweets and baked goods. You may be tempted to share a bite of your sugar snowman cookie with your pet, but there’s a chance it could contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s toxic to dogs and possibly cats, too.

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