Essential Tips for Pet Safety During the Holiday Season

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pet safety
Even the most well-behaved pets can run into a bit of temptation and trouble during the holiday season. The food, the decorations and additional visitors to the home present an array of opportunities for furry friend ‘naughtiness’ — both intentionally and unintentionally. These tips can help keep your pet happy and healthy throughout the holidays.

Holiday Foods Pets Should Avoid

It can be tempting to share a bit of turkey or table scraps with pets, but even small amounts of these foods can be hard to digest and can cause pancreatitis in pets. Other toxic foods to avoid include chocolate, grapes, onions and raisins. Another sneaky culprit called xylitol — an artificial sweetener — that has been associated with liver failure in dogs and cats.

Holiday Decorations and Pets

While trees, garlands, ornaments, and festive plants can spruce up your home, they have the ability to put a damper on your pet’s holidays. Here’s what pet owners need to know about pets and seasonal decor.

Christmas Trees:  Climbing kitties and rambunctious dogs can tip over the tree if it isn't secured to the ceiling, wall or a doorframe. Avoid using water additives to live tree bases to prevent toxicity.

Ornaments and Lights:  Wreaths, tinsel, lights and dangling ornaments captivate many animals' attention, beckoning them to gnaw at them and bat them around. Glass ornaments and other materials can be toxic and even fatal if ingested or cause internal blockages that require surgery. If pets chew light cords, it can start a fire and/or cause burns.

Plants and Flowers:  Traditional holiday plants and greenery such as poinsettias, mistletoe, cedar, holly, pine and amaryllis can be poisonous to pets if consumed or chewed and can lead to an emergency vet visit.

Candles and Potpourri:  Use caution with candles and liquid potpourri, as they can spill and cause a fire or burns. Most potpourri is toxic to pets and can cause eye, skin and mouth damage.

Of course, one last word of caution concerns keeping pets calm when visitors arrive for holiday gatherings. Depending on their temperament, take appropriate steps to make it comfortable for both your furry friends and guests.

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