Christmas is one of the most exciting and joyous days of the year and a big part of the day is opening gifts. Seeing your friends and family members’ faces light up as they open that handpicked or handmade gift you’ve been itching to give them for months is impossibly exciting. However, in all the excitement, your pet may get a little too overzealous seeing everyone open gifts and try to get involved, potentially leading to an emergency Christmas day trip to the vet.

Here are the potential dangers of Christmas morning, how to avoid them, and what to do if something does happen.

Gifts And Stockings

Just like the tinsel and ornaments on your Christmas tree, Christmas gifts can be enticing to your pet. They may want to play with string, wrapping paper, or ribbons, whether they are under the tree or as they fall to the ground Christmas morning. However, all three of these can be cause for concern. If your pets ingest any of them, it could lead to vomiting or severe gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea. It may also lead to intestinal blockage, which can become serious quickly. Apart from that, unsupervised play with Christmas wrapping can also leave your pet tangled up in string or ribbon, which could cut off circulation or airflow.

dog and stocking, Christmas Morning Celebrations: How To Keep Your Pets Safe

Stockings are also another thing to keep out of your pet’s reach. While the goodies found inside are an essential part of the Christmas Holiday, they can make your pet seriously sick. Candy, small toys, toiletries, or candles are all potentially dangerous to your pet. Ingesting sharp objects can lead to a damaged esophagus, and sugary candy, candles, or toiletries can be toxic to your pet.

How To Avoid Dangers

It’s best to keep your stockings and gifts out of your pet’s reach before and after they’ve been opened. You could use a barricade such as a baby gate to keep your pets out of the room where your Christmas tree resides. If that isn’t an option, consider keeping your gifts secured in a separate room until Christmas morning or using a mobile boundary from DogWatch!

dog in front of christmas tree, Christmas Morning Celebrations: How To Keep Your Pets Safe

If you plan to allow your pets to celebrate Christmas morning alongside your family, make sure you are cleaning up wrapping as you are opening gifts. This goes double for your stockings. As soon as you open them, place the items back inside and out of your pet’s reach and keep a close eye on them throughout the day. A good option for distracting your pet is stuffing an interactive toy or Kong with their favorite treats, so they can have their own Christmas morning surprise!

What To Do If Something Happens

If your pet does ingest something potentially harmful, the symptoms may not be evident at first. Some clear signs of blockage include vomiting, loss of appetite or energy, or diarrhea with blood in it. Cats may respond by hiding and may strain when trying to use their litter box. Dogs may have abdominal bloating, weakness, or may begin excessive whining.

dog sick, Christmas Morning Celebrations: How To Keep Your Pets Safe

It’s important not to panic in these situations, as every second is vital to your pet’s health. If you suspect that your pet has an intestinal blockage, give your regular vet or an emergency vet a call. They’ll be able to walk you through the next steps. If your pet’s condition doesn’t improve after a few hours, it may be time to consider heading to the emergency room. Bloat is a different issue for dogs. If your dog seems to be exhibiting signs of bloat, their organs are in immediate danger. Bloat should be addressed immediately, as it can become deadly within hours. 


Christmas is a wonderful day that, with a few safety precautions, can be safely enjoyed by everyone in your home, including your four-legged family members. Remember, closely supervise your pets and watch for signs of distress. With foresight, you can avoid any complications to your joyous Holiday celebration!