The holiday season brings about lots of interesting foods and decorations that can be harmful for pets. Make sure you’re aware of common hazards associated with the holidays to help keep your beloved best friend out of harm’s way.

Holiday foods can be incredibly dangerous to pets. Foods such as chocolate, sugarless gum, nuts, yeast bread dough, food with garlic and onion, and fruitcake with raisins and currants can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets. Leftover fatty meat scraps and other foods outside of your pet’s normal diet have the potential to be very harmful and even cause pancreatitis. While entertaining this holiday season, ask guests to refrain from sharing human food and drinks with pets. Many alcoholic drinks left unattended can be very enticing to pets. Alcohol poisoning in pets can result in a dangerous drop in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature, potentially leading to seizures and respiratory failure. Finally, it can also be helpful to inform guests to place any wrapped gifts containing food items out of the reach of pets.

Holiday plants such as poinsettias, American mistletoe, Christmas cactus, and Christmas or English holly are relatively non-toxic but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, minor mouth irritation, and/or irritation or damage to pets’ stomach or intestines upon ingestion. While serious complications are not very likely with these plants, it’s still best to keep them out of pets’ reach.

Cats, in particular, are attracted to many holiday decorations. Some decorations such as tinsel are just too enticing to have in a household with a cat. Also, be sure to keep decorations resembling toys out of your dog’s reach. Holiday decorations and gifting material, if ingested, can cause potentially fatal intestinal blockages.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!