Help your pet(s) enjoy the holidays safely by keeping them away from potential problems. Once you know the hazards, a little precaution and prevention will make the holidays a happy time for everyone.

Bones: Turkey, chicken, and other small bones are very different from the large bones you find at the pet store. These small bones splinter easily and can cause serious internal damage if swallowed, so NEVER give them to your pet.

Candles: Lighted candles should never be left unattended. Dogs and cats are naturally curious and they can either burn themselves by the flame or knock the candle over, starting a fire.

Electrical Cords: Holiday lights mean more electrical cords for kittens and puppies to chew. Be sure you have cords secured and out of the way.

Fake grass and Small toys: If swallowed can cause your pet to choke and may damage or obstruct their intestines. 

Fat: Gravies and poultry skin can cause severe gastrointestinal upset.

Flowers and candy: Many types of flowers and plants found in bouquets are harmful to dogs and cats if they are ingested. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures, and, in severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatel.

Fireworks: Fireworks can scare your pets making them run off, or cause serious injuries if detonated near them. Many formulations are also toxic if injested.

Holiday Plants: Christmas rose, Holly, Lilies, and Mistletoe are all extremely poisonous when eaten. The lovely poinsettia may not be truly poisonous, but its milky white sap and leaves can certainly cause severe gastric distress. With so many hybrid varieties each year, the best approach is to keep the plants out of your pet’s reach.

Holiday Tree: Make sure your tree is well secured. If you have tree-climbing cat or large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall using strong cord or rope. Preservatives often used in the water in a tree stand can cause gastric upsets, so be sure it is inaccessible or that the preservatives are not used. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well.