It can be the most wonderful time of the year for your pet, too. But take precautions for your dog or cat’s safety during the holiday season, as there are dangers lurking right under his or her snout.
Toxins: The following foods can be toxic to pets: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bread dough and sugar-free candy and gum containing the artificial sweetener, Xylitol.
Monitor foods and toys: Beef, ham and other "people" foods that are not considered toxic can cause illness in pets. If your pet is a moocher, keep a saucer of his regular treats on the table to offer when he asks. He likely won't know the difference.
Even a pet-safe treat can cause stomach upset if it is new to your pet. Offer only one of these at a time (ideally, separated by a few days). If your pet becomes ill after eating a holiday treat, it will be easier to trace the source and discontinue it. Also, check new toys for sharp edges, pieces that can be chewed off, or other potential hazards.
Hazardous plants include mistletoe, some evergreens (including some types of pine) and holly bushes and berries. Keep these plants away from pets, or at least supervise pets when dangerous plants are nearby.
Tinsel, tree ornaments, ribbons, string and garlands can be dangerous if eaten by pets. Keep these items away from pets, particularly when you are not there to keep an eye on them. Cover any electrical cords to keep them out of reach.
Monitor pets near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles and portable heaters. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. Space heaters, furnaces and idling cars (in a garage) can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets and humans.
Pay close attention to your pets when they are around your holiday tree. Pets could eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the base of the tree, which can be toxic (particularly if there are preservatives in it). Keep electrical cords and decorative lights out of reach as well.