Pictured: Tinsel

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally mild to severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Inappetance
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

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 the tinsel (or anything stringy like yarn, cassette tape, ribbon, etc.)! What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. 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.

Poison type: household_items

Alternate names: linear foreign body, string, yard, cassette tape