What is safe for your pet at home goes far beyond a fence to keep your dog from running into the street.  Many things you may not be aware of can pose a danger to your pet.  As a responsible pet owner making your home as safe as possible not only helps ensure the well being of your pet, it also gives you peace of mind. Viewing your home and all it’s contents can reveal things that you know could obviously harm your pet, but unfortunately,  not all things that pose a threat to your pet are obvious. Let take a look at what it takes to pet-proof your home.


 Bad Foods

While most  pet owners are aware of foods that should never be given to a pet, the following list is worth repeating. Knowing these foods can be dangerous is extremely important, but please be aware that they may be contained in other foods that may inadvertently be fed to your pet.

  • Chocolate
  • Onionssad-dog-1368022
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Milk and other Dairy Products
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Candy and gum that contains Xylitol
  • Peaches and Plums
  • Raw Eggs, Meat or Fish
  • Salt
  • Foods and Drinks containing Sugar
  • Yeast Dough
  • Walnuts
  • Cherry and Apricot Pits
  • Apple Seeds

The ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,  provides detailed information regarding these and other unsafe foods for your pet at “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” page.


Bad Houseplants

Common houseplants, many of which are given as gifts for the holidays, can harm your pet. If your dog or cat has nibbled on a plant and you are unsure of it’s safety, you should contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680. The following all have the ability to harm your pet:

  • Aloe Vera – can cause stomach upset and diarrhea
  • Amaryllis – very popular for the holidays and both cats and dogs can be attracted to it.  Can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and tremors
  • Azalea, Rhododendron – Another popular gift plant, if ingested, can cause cardiovascular collapse which can be fatal
  • Caladium – can cause stomach upset, tremors, seizures, asphyxiation and death
  • Calla Lilly – Popular at Easter, can cause symptoms similar to that of Caladium
  • Chrysanthemum – These flowers are toxic and can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination and dermatitis
  • Cyclamen – If ingested can cause intense vomiting that can be fatal
  • English Ivy – Popular in Christmas wreaths – if consumed can cause vomiting, pain and diarrhea
  • Lilies, all types – All parts of a Lily are toxic to cats. If consumed, they cause kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours of ingestion
  • Mistletoe – Consumption of even 1 or 2 berries can be fatal
  • Philodendron – Can cause a swollen mouth, painful tongue and sore lips
  • Poinsettias – Can cause vomiting, anorexia and depressionbell-1401650
  • Pothos – Causes vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of the mouth
  • Schefflera – causes vomiting, kidney problems, heart and respiratory problems
  • Tulip – can cause serious stomach problems, irregular heartbeat, weakness and hyperactivity


Other Bad Stuff

Common sense goes a long way in identifying what is and what is not safe for your pet in your home. You want to make sure that no toxic substances, such as chemicals or cleaners, are located where your pet may have access to them.  Also consider if any of your medication or rodent traps or bait are stored where a curious pet may get to them.  Keep your toilet lid down to prevent a thirsty pup from taking a drink of water and keep your garbage receptacle securely covered.  It is extremely important to keep electrical chords away from your pet to avoid electrocution, especially young puppies that are constantly chewing. The use of baby gates to keep your pet away from an unsafe area and using child safety locks on cupboards is a smart way to protect a crafty pet. Lastly, please know that dangling cords from mini-blinds and window treatments have caused the deaths of many pets and should never be in your home.




10 comments on “Safe For Your Pet Begins At Home – Top Dangers During the Holiday and Everyday

  • Hi, Erin! Firstly, thanks for all that great info. I have a puppy that i love to death. Shes a black lab and just turned 1. Her name is Miley. 🙂 One thing I noticed in your article is the Apple Seeds.. Are they really that bad for dogs to eat? Thanks -Billy

    • Hi Billy,

      Thanks for your comments. Apple seeds contain cyanide and can be toxic if a large amount is consumed. So make sure to keep Miley safe and away from apple seeds:-)

      Take Care,


  • I was certainly aware of some of the items on the dangerous foods list, but there are some I’m surprised to see! I sometimes allow my cat to lick a bowl that I’ve beaten eggs in. Thankfully he’s never had an adverse reaction. Is the chance of a bad egg what makes it dangerous?
    Is the entire list true for all pets, or just dogs and cats? Just dogs? House rabbits, guinea pigs, etc?
    Really good post, definitely makes you remember to keep those holiday plants out of reach! My other cat loves to chew on plants, so my husband isn’t allowed to buy me flowers since they never survive!

    • Hi Dara,

      While many of the items on the list focus on dogs, many of them also apply to cats too. You can just never be too careful with plants. I remember as a child our Beagle ate one of my Mother’s plants and she was one sick dog, let me tell you. I remember the vet telling my parents that is was a miracle that she survived. So keep a close eye on your cats! Thanks for the comments.

      Take Care,


  • This is a great list to keep on hand! Thank you for taking the time to write this up.

    My dog got ahold of some chocolate a few years ago. He snuck out of his cage and ate up a whole bunch of Hershey’s kisses while I was gone. Luckily he was okay but he got pretty sick. Almost gave me a heart attack though!

    Definitely bookmarking this page for future reference. Your site looks amazing by the way!

    • Hi Jay,

      Thanks for the encouraging comments. Your experience with your dog and chocolate I am sure showed you just how importatnt it is that we know all about what can be harmful to our pets. Glad your dog turned out ok!!

      Take Care,


  • Hey than you for these tips about different types of dangers for my pet. I have a dog and Im a little bit concern what are the dangerous things for him. Now I know what are the top dangerous things I will be able to stop him near from danger. I have some questions. Is there any other dangerous stuff for my dog rather than this five things?

    • Hi John,

      I always compare pets to children when it comes to safety. Young dogs and cats are curious just like young children, so always look carefully around your home for what can be dangerous to a child. Whatever you find, assume that you will need to protect your pet too from that potential harm. Be especially careful about anything that your pet or child would put in their mouth.

      Take Care,


  • Hi Erin! I really enjoyed that cat video above. Your site is very informative especially when it comes to foods we should avoid giving our pets. However, some pets are very sneaky and unintentionally consume these items. What tips would you give if you suspect your pet has consumed one of these forbidden items?

    • You know your pet the best, especially the sneaky ones, so if you suspect that they have ingested something that could harm them, I would say you should contact a veterinarian or a poison control center right away. I would also suggest that you download to your phone the “Pet First Aid” by the American Red Cross app to your phone. It is packed with information you need to have in an emergency, including a section on poisoning.

      Take Care,


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