The song played when Santa's Little Helper looks for Homer in the maze is KoЯn's Freak on a Leash. The scene follows Santa's Little Helper's path; the video for "Freak on a Leash" follows the path of a bullet.
The last line of the show is Groundskeeper Willie after he adopted the python, saying, "That'll do, snake. That'll do." This is a parody of a famous line from the 1995 film, Babe.
The song playing in the background as Santa's Little Helper goes through police dog training is the theme from the 1970s crime drama series S.W.A.T.
Lisa suggesting that Santa's Little Helper barks for novelty Christmas records is a reference to Don Charles' version of "Jingle Bells" from 1955, popularized further through Dr. Demento's radio programs.
This episode was held back due to the Virginia Tech shooting, as the episode features gun references and a school emergency calling for an evacuation.
A scene with former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was not shown when the episode first came on, but is now present in syndication.
The last time Bart had a wild animal for a pet, which he names after his attack method and attacks Homer was in "Bart Gets an Elephant."
In the episode, ethanol and nitric acid are mixed and produce a toxic gas presumed to be NO2. But in reality it makes an explosive mixture.