Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to you and your fur family! Let’s go over a couple of tips to keep your pets safe this holiday season.

Holiday plants can be hazardous. In truth, poinsettias are generally not poisonous, although munching on the leaves can lead to stomach upset for your cat or dog. Fresh holly and mistletoe are toxic, particularly the berries and lilies, also common holiday flowers, can cause kidney failure in cats, in particular, tiger, Asian, Japanese show, stargazer and the Casablanca variety.

Ask any pet – Christmas trees are about climbing and sniffing, ornaments about batting, and gift ribbon about pouncing and chewing. Sparkling tinsel hanging from a tree is an open invitation for any cat to jump and grab. Cats and puppies also love to pounce on cast off Christmas ribbons. If they ingest enough of either decoration, it can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction that could be life-threatening. If you have a cat, avoid using glass ornaments and secure your tree, so that if your cat does decide to take a flying leap for the top branch, your glittering showpiece won’t topple over.

Those tall, glowing tapers may look lovely on the dining table, but they can easily be knocked over by curious cats. Likewise, scented votives and pedestal candles smell delicious, but their fumes can be very dangerous for pet birds, which have sensitive respiratory systems. If you have pet birds, use unscented candles.

Some holiday treats can be dangerous to pets. If you plan to leave chocolate cookies out for Santa, remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs – put the cookies up high, like on the mantle. Pets can choke on chicken or turkey bones, which can also cause a gastrointestinal obstruction. When you have 10 dinner guests, and everyone is tossing tasty tidbits, it may be too much for a small dog or cat to handle. Even big pets are commonly treated for everything from minor tummy upset to pancreatitis on Christmas Day, so limit table scraps. In addition, these calories add up quickly in little bodies. To limit holiday weight gain, cut those table scraps down, including calories from licking plates clean and lick dishes in the dishwasher (yes – this is really a thing!).

Pets deserve presents too. As the family gathers to open presents, include all members of the family, including those with paws. Whether on the naughty or nice list, spoil your dog this year with an invisible fence to provide for hours of safe, outdoor fun.