Help! My Pet Ate Tinsel!

Here's why eating tinsel is an emergency 🚨

cat ate tinsel

Tinsel might add some flair to your holiday, but there are some serious safety risks if your pet eats it.

During the holidays you have so many extra things to keep track of — like gifts, candles, trees and decorations — so it can be hard to remember which ones are pet-friendly, and which ones are actually kind of dangerous.

When it comes to tinsel, we spoke with Dr. Julian Rivera, a veterinarian at West Village Veterinary Hospital in New York City, to find out just how bad it could be if your dog or cat ate tinsel and swallowed this holiday staple.

Why would my pet eat tinsel in the first place?!

Sure, your dog or cat isn’t about to mistake foil for food. But tinsel is shiny and wiggly, like a toy they could chase and try to bite. (Plus it sticks to everything — including staticky pet fur.)

And if you look away for a moment, or don’t take the tinsel away in time, accidental swallowing is a possibility.

This could happen to both cats and dogs, but your kitty is more likely to make this mistake.

“Cats may be more interested in playing with the dangerous décor,” Dr. Rivera told The Dodo. That’s because it might resemble her favorite string toy.

What happens if my pet swallows tinsel?

According to Dr. Rivera, swallowing tinsel can be a serious surgical emergency in both dogs and cats, and you should go to the vet right away.

“If ingested, [tinsel] can cause what is called a linear foreign body, which can cause serious damage to the intestines,” he said.

Dr. Rivera explained that tinsel in your pet’s intestines is pretty much like “wire through cheese.” Ouch!

Signs that your dog or cat ate tinsel

Since you might not always catch your pet in the act of swallowing something he’s not supposed to, keep your eye out for symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Not eating
  • Difficulty going to the bathroom
  • Lack of energy
  • Behavioral changes (lunging, biting or growling when touched on the abdomen)

What do I do if my pet swallows tinsel?

It’s super important that you get your vet involved — instead of just hoping it’ll pass — because the damage could be life-threatening, and it can happen pretty quickly.

Dr. Rivera also said the best thing you can do is to prevent this from happening in the first place, and recommends that you avoid using tinsel entirely if you have any pets running around.

No dangerous decorations? No problem!