12 Thoughtful Reminders: Dog and Cat Health for the Holiday Season


Asheville integrative vet, Dr. Laurel Davis offers “Stories from a holistic vet,” the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter” with a clinic in Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers intuitive animal health, vaccination and lifestyle advice for animal companions and their human friends across the USA.

Have a question for Dr. Laurel? Send it in.

Want comprehensive or detailed dog or cat advice? Schedule an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype consultation.

Our Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic family sends our wish for holiday peace and joy to all of our clients, their sweet four-legged companions, and to all of you who read our wondrous (I couldn’t help myself….it’s a great holiday word!) blogs.


I have put together 12 Thoughtful Reminders for the Holiday Season (for your Dog’s and Cat’s Health).


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Some lilies can be poisonous to dogs and cats.


  1. If you’re celebrating Christmas, keep this in mind. Although they hold an important place in Christmas traditions, mistletoe, holly and poinsettias can cause intense gastrointestinal upset for your curious dog or cat. These three are the most well known toxic holiday plants. Lilies (particularly peace lily, calla lily, amaryllis, lily of the valley, autumn crocus and palm lily) and cyclamen are two more plants that are worth mentioning because they also can cause GI issues. The pollen and vase water of the lilies are especially a problem for cats, so keep your festive vegetation out of reach!
  2. Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or Christmas — whatever your celebration — be aware of wrapped food gifts. Place them out of your hound’s living space. You don’t want your food gift to turn into a bowel obstruction! Of course, chocolate goodies and fruitcake (with its raisins and currants) are no friend to Fido.
  3. Any wrapping paper, string, plastic or ribbon should be monitored during wrapping and cleared up when finished. Puppies and cats of all ages are intrigued by all of these new ‘toys’ and, before you know it, can munch them down. Also, put away your scissors and sheath your box cutters!
  4. If your celebrations include an indoor tree, put your tree in a corner or an area where it has less chance of being knocked over. You may want to stabilize with wire to the adjacent walls. This is especially important if you have cats that love to explore or a particularly rowdy pack of pooches.
  5. Do not let your pets drink out of the Christmas tree basin. Some trees have been sprayed with dangerous herbicides. Some folks put tree nutrients in the water, which can include preservatives and aspirin. Make sure your animal friends have plenty of fresh water to quench their thirst.
  6. Stockings almost always have treats in them. Put them up out of Spot’s reach.
  7. Yes, having a tree in the house can be very confusing to male dogs. Keep an eye out for their possible attempts to mark the lovely evergreen.  
  8. Many holiday celebrations include lit candles. Keep candles up, away from the melee, and never leave them unsupervised if you have curious kitties.
  9. Tree decorations are basically a free-for-all. Dog tails, cat’s paws…’oh what fun it is’ to pop them off of the branches! Use your own discretion on how far up the tree to start your decorating. Monitor for broken ornaments on the floor.
  10. Be aware of holiday light wires, especially with the younger four-leggeds, who might find them interesting to chew. No need for them to get shocked!
  11. Tinsel is a beautiful final touch; however, it can cause serious GI blockage, especially in cats. The little hooks on your cat’s tongue that assist her grooming can also curve around a piece of tinsel and drag it into her gullet.
  12. Houseguests are a given during the holidays. Bring ‘em on! However, ask them to keep their bedroom doors shut and their purses off of the floor. Also, remember to mention they should refrain from feeding tidbits to the furry family members.


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Keep your furry friends safe and happy this holiday!


On a lighter and more jolly note, take time to slow down in the midst of all the frenetic running around. Listen to your perfect pup as she invites you out for a brisk mind-clearing walk and your flawless feline as he motions to you to lay down next to him on the rug near the fireside.

These are the peaceful, grounding moments that you are actually craving. Let your animal friend, in all their wisdom, help you get into the holiday spirit of compassion, generosity and caring for all!


Shine on,

Dr. Laurel


This holiday, please support Sunvet Animal Wellness and your favorite furry friends’ best health: purchase gifts from our Critter’s Choice store, either online or in our downtown Asheville clinic! Shop a selection of our products below. 

Asheville integrative vet

Dr. Laurel Davis is a Asheville integrative vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere.Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinicRead more patient stories.

Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.

Do you have a story about Dr. Laurel’s dog advice or how she helped your animal companion? Please leave it in the comments below or write a Google Review.


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