are you aware of common pet sitter holiday dangers each year? As the holidays approach it would be a good time to review what dangers lurk for your pets. I have summarized a few of them below:

Pet Sitter Holiday Dangers You Must Know

Holly Berries

To put it simply, the berries of the holly plant are toxic—not only to dogs and cats, but also to other animals and children. These berries remain attached to the plant while it’s still fresh, but as the plant dries, the berries loosen and may fall off of your décor and onto the floor.

The leaves and berries of the American Holly contain potentially toxic substances of cyanogens, methylxanthines, and saponins. Although the leaves and berries contain a low toxicity level, the effects that plant has on a pet can be hazardous to his or her health.


Cats are highly sensitive to lilies, but not every pet sitter experts service knows this. In fact, they’re so sensitive that grooming lily pollen off their fur can lead to kidney failure. Other signs of lily toxicity can include gastrointestinal upset, heart arrhythmias, and convulsions. Dogs do not develop kidney failure from eating lilies like cats do, but may have some minor stomach upset.


While tinsel isn’t “poisonous” per se, it’s extremely dangerous to your dog or cat (particularly cats, as they are more curious!). If you own a cat, toss out the tinsel (or anything stringy like yarn, cassette tape, ribbon, etc.)! What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if swallowed. Tinsel can result in a severe linear foreign body if ingested. A linear foreign body occurs when your cat swallows something stringy which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, this string or linear foreign body can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract. Ultimately, pets run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

If you suspect your dog or cat has gotten into tinsel, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment advice. A thorough oral exam (which may need to be done under sedation) and x-rays may be necessary.

Pine Needles

Unfortunately, live Christmas trees can be deadly for cats, so it’s important your pet sitter understands to keep them apart. Pine needles can be ingested and puncture intestines. Pine is highly toxic to cats, potentially causing liver damage or even death.

Toxic Tree Water

If you have a real Christmas tree, one of the most important things you can do this holiday season is to keep your pets away from the water at the base of the tree. Increasingly, companies are marketing various chemical enhancements that can keep your trees alive longer but are toxic to pets.

Beyond added chemicals, it turns out all Christmas tree water is dangerous. The water from Christmas trees is toxic because of fire retardants that are sprayed onto most Christmas trees before they are sold, plus pine sap is toxic to pets.


Christmas tree ornaments made of wood, fabric and sturdy plastic are safest, as they are least likely to break if they fall. Always avoid glass and other easily breakable ornaments as well as tinsel. However, even ornaments too large for your pet to accidentally eat can be dangerous. Snow globe-type tree ornaments and decorations often contain antifreeze, which can be very dangerous if they crack and pets get access to the liquids inside.

Call Us to Know More About Pet Sitter Holiday Dangers

Inside and Out Pet Care wishes you and your furry family members a holiday season full of joy and love. Do you need pet sitting services? Give our experienced team a call at 970-297-8689.