The holidays are a time to get together with family and celebrate, enjoy plenty of good food, and each others company. Unfortunately veterinarians are kept busy at this time of year as the holidays bring many potential hazards for our pets. Take the precautions below to ensure that all of the members of your family have happy and safe holidays.

Avoiding the Hazards of the Christmas Tree

1)      If you bring a live tree into your home make sure that you cover the water in the base so that your pets cannot drink. The pine sap and chemical additives used to extend tree life are dangerous if ingested.  Clean up fallen pine needles frequently as these can be toxic if swallowed.

2)     Secure your tree so that it won’t fall if curious cats climb the branches.

3)     Clean up all ribbons, and tinsel, and keep these decorations high enough that they are out of reach as they can block intestines if they are eaten by your pets.

4)     If you cats are attracted by the sparkle of glass ornaments keep them high on the tree out of reach.

5)     Purchase pet safe extension cords or spray cords with bitter apple to stop pets chewing them.

6)     Keep gifts containing food off the floor so that pets won’t be tempted to break into them.

7)     Turn tree lights off when you are away from home as playful cats can entangle themselves in the cords and risk electrocution

Avoiding Food and Plant Hazards

  1. Lilies, poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe leaves and berries can cause poisoning, vomiting, or diarrhea. Keep out of reach of your pets.

9)     Don’t be tempted to feed your pets table scraps as high fat or high sugar foods can cause gastro-enteritis. Don’t let pets eat chocolate, or foods containing garlic or onions, coffee, and definitely don’t feed them alcohol. Educate your guests to be sure they keep these poisons out of reach of your pets.

Holiday Common Sense Tips

10) Burning great smelling candles is popular during the holidays. Keep open flames away from areas where curious kitty can reach. Cats brushing against candles can set their fur on fire.

11)  Minimize stress on your pets by giving them a quiet area of the house when large groups friends or family visit your home.

12)  Don’t give pets as holiday gifts. If you want a great gift for an animal lover give them pet toys, pet supplies, or gift certificates to pet stores.

Following these tips will ensure that you have a safe and joyful holiday with your family – furry and otherwise!