5 Holiday Choking Hazards For Pets Found In Your Post-Holiday Trash

Pet owners should know that the holidays come with lists and lists of potential hazards for your pet’s health, from poisonous plants to dangerous foods. The holidays may be over, but don’t let your guard down just yet. As you take down holiday celebrations and clear out the garbage, be mindful of your dog or cat snooping around in the trash can. Be careful to keep your furry friends away from the following holiday choking hazards for pets and find out how to reduce their risk of choking.

Tinsel, Garland, Ribbons

Colorful and shiny decorations like tinsel can easily entice and attract pets. Dogs and cats who try to eat brightly-colored tinsel or ribbons can easily choke. If ingested, intestinal blockages may occur. New Year’s decorations such as confetti or deflated balloons also present a choking hazard.


The post-holiday season is when our festive Christmas trees come down. Your delicate, glimmering ornaments may not be in the trash, but once you leave them within reach of your pet, trouble may follow. If bitten into and shattered, broken glass or sharp plastic can inflict severe cuts and injuries to your pet.

Electric lights or other cords

Christmas lights from your tree or your porch may be packed back into storage around this time. Pets who chew these cords may entangle themselves, choke, or suffer from shocks or burns if the cords are frayed.


From ribs to steak, your kitchen trash may be overflowing from cooking large quantities of meat-based dishes for family and guests. Bones may entice dogs in particular, especially if they are seasoned. Smaller bones may splinter and puncture your dog’s mouth. If ingested, bones can splinter and puncture the esophagus and stomach. The PDSA has issued warnings against giving bones to dogs in general, citing frequent cases of digestive tract damage and blockages caused by bone splinters. Be sure to dispose of bones where your pets cannot access them.

Candy Wrappers and Gift Wrap

Both candy and gifts are sweet parts of the holiday season. But our curious furry friends may attempt to eat candy wrappers and gift wrap from the trash. This can cause tearing of the esophagus or intestines.

How Do I Prevent My Pet From Digging Through The Trash?

The simplest, cheapest, and most effective way to prevent pets from digging through the trash is by using a trash can with securely fastened lid. This simple switch will relieve you from ever having to worry about your pet harming themselves because of trash items.

How Do I Know If My Pet Is Choking?

Being able to identify signs of choking in your dog or cat is extremely important. The most common signs include extreme distress, drooling, and pawing at the mouth. You may also see gagging, retching, and blue skin.

If you suspect your dog or cat might be choking, examine their mouth and pull their tongue forward. If you can see something at the back of the throat, try to remove it with your fingers or tweezers. If this does not work, attempt the Heimlich Maneuver. Call a trusted and nearby animal hospital with emergency services, like Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, as soon as possible.

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