We always want to include your furry companions in the festivities, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants, and dangerous decorations.

O Christmas Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water — which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset — from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should your pet drink it.

Tinsel-less town
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries
Its known that pets can’t have chocolate or anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which our enterprising animals will go to get their paws on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
  • Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise your cat with a new ball that too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the Leftovers
Fattening and spicy foods, as well as bones, — or anything your pet’s not accustomed to — should not be fed to your pets. For some animals, the treat can trigger a serious inflammation of the pancreas or intestine, and that means a life-threatening illness. What to avoid? Anything you wouldn’t eat your pet should avoid, too. While a little bit of meat — beef or poultry — won’t hurt and would be appreciated, steer clear of the fatty parts and the poultry skin, which also harbors fat. Cooked poultry bones and even the largest turkey bones are prone to splintering, sending shards through the animal’s intestines. Should one pierce through the intestinal lining, the result can be deadly peritonitis.

Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lightened candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface and put the candle out when not in the room.

Wired Up
Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach! A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to — complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy dogs and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their crate or in a separate room away from the holiday event.

New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can also terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears if in close proximity.

Poison Control Center – A number to know!
If you’re not sure about what can be toxic to your pets, you might want to review the information on the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website.