Holiday PetsThe holidays are approaching fast, and that means wonderful family gatherings are just around the corner. For many of us with pets in our lives, these furry companions are members of our families. But alongside pleasant holiday tidings, cats and dogs can get themselves into plenty of trouble. To ensure the holidays go well for your two- and four-legged family members, follow these guidelines to keep your furry friends out of harm’s way.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees can be surprisingly dangerous for cats and dogs, and there are several health hazards to keep in mind while pet-proofing your Christmas tree. Keep an eye out for the following:   Tinsel: Cat’s love to play with this glistening string toy, but if they swallow tinsel, your feline friend could require surgery to remove it. Rope lights: Cats and dogs alike have a tendency to get wrangled by low-hanging rope lights, which can cause burns to their body, mouth or esophagus. And if they decide to gnaw on the bulbs or cord, they can get electrocuted and even ingest dangerous chemicals that can cause irritation to their eyes, skin, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Like breakable ornaments, try to keep the lights out of paw’s reach. Preservatives: If you’re using a live tree, close off the water at the tree base from your pets. This water often contains preservatives and bacteria that can cause digestive issues.


If you skip exercising your cat or dog because of holiday chaos, they might get stressed and rambunctious. Take the time to exercise your pet; it’ll be good for them and you.


Food is arguably the best part about holidays for many people. And it’s common for a pet to be handed table scraps throughout the festivities. Fatty, spicy and poisonous human foods,  as well as bones, can hurt your furry family member:   Turkey skins and gravy: These can cause pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of a pet’s digestive gland that leads to stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Onions: Onions or onion powders are often plentiful in turkey stuffing, but the food can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, causing anemia. Grapes and raisins: Grapes might look delicious and harmless, but they contain toxins that can cause kidney failure in pets.


Festive plants might look delightful and give your home a warm touch, but many holiday or seasonal plants can harm or kill your pets. Some of these cause digestive issues, organ failure and vomiting. Here are a few holiday plants to keep out of your pet’s reach:   Lilies Poinsettias Mistletoe Holly Ivy
  Travis McKnight   Travis McKnight is a freelance writer who covers health, the environment, science and technology.
January 5, 2016