This is a wonderful time of year, but make sure it’s a wonderful time for your pets, as decorations, food and festivities can be a source of stress or sickness for your companion animal. Here are some tips and warnings from the American Humane Society to help you avoid potential problems for your pet.

Christmas trees

Hang breakable, glass ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowedChristmas Tree Cat by your pet.

Keep tinsel, ribbons, and garland out of reach of pets, especially cats that are intrigued by them. These can become lodged in their intestines and cause obstruction and lead to surgery or death.

Clean up pine needles frequently. They can be toxic when eaten by your pet.

Prevent your pet from drinking water in the tree stand if you have added preservative chemicals. These can be poisonous to pets. Also, stagnant water can contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

Holiday house plants

Although they add a warm touch, many plants can harm your pets. Keep these potentially dangerous bloomers well out of reach.

Lilies can be deadly to cats, and many types can cause cats to have kidney failure. Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can upset your pet’s digestive system. Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset, and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems. Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy.

Certain types of Ivy, such as English Ivy, can also cause severe harm. Amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Hibiscus can cause diarrhea.

Lights, candles, and fragrance

Keep lights and extension cords safely secured or covered to deter chewing, which can lead to electric shock or even electrocution. Better yet, invest in pet-proof extension cords, or spray with products such as Bitter Apple or Chew Stop.

Candles can be fragrant and enticing to pets. But they can be a fire hazard if knocked over by an exuberant pet, and the fumes can be harmful to birds.

Liquid potpourri and sachets, popular during the holidays, can be very dangerous. Exposure can cause skin or oral damage to your pet and may cause illness or death.


Chocolate can affect the nervous system and cause urinary system and heart muscle damage in your pet.

Onions are toxic. They inhibit an animal’s ability to coagulate blood.

Grapes and raisins can lead to loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and acute renal failure in dogs resulting in death.

So be sure and keep holiday treats and gifts of food out from under the tree and out of reach of your pets to avoid temptation.

Source: Daily Herald

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