Are you ready for the holidays? For many of us, there’s a lot to do at this time of year as we prepare to travel or welcome out of town guests. There are often gifts to purchase, food to prepare, wrapping, decorations, parties and singing. Hopefully, you find joy in all of it!

Sometimes it can be difficult to squeeze in the normal amount of attention we might lavish on our pets with all of our extra tasks. We encourage you to try to keep their routine as normal as possible and help reduce unnecessary stress or confusion for them. Additionally, of course, we hope you’re able to include them in your holiday plans.

If you are traveling with your pet, be sure to take all the provisions he or she needs to be comfortable, safe and in good health. Also ensure they’re wearing a collar and identification. If their tag doesn’t have your cell phone on, or you are traveling somewhere where you may not have coverage, consider a temporary tag with a local contact number.

In the revelry and celebrations, be careful of these 10 potential holiday hazards:

  1. Make sure any Christmas tree is well secured and cannot fall. Keep any tree water fresh. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria which could cause an upset tummy to an unwitting pet who tries to quench their thirst.
  2. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal distress and even cardiovascular problems. Holly and poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and throat, causing GI issues.
  3. Keep lilies completely out of proximity of cats. They can cause kidney failure. If your cat has ingested any part of a lilly or encountered pollen on their fur which they may then be tempted to lick off, consult your nearest veterinary emergency facility.
  4. Limit tinsel, particularly around cats, who might try to play with, and even nibble on it. If they ingest it, it can cause an intestinal obstruction.
  5. Lit candles can scald pets, or become a fire hazard if knocked over by a curious or rambunctious pet.
  6. Try to keep electrical cables tucked away from playful paws or curious chewers. Damaged cords can cause electrical shock. Also be aware of batteries, ornaments and children’s toys which could be mistaken for chewable items.
  7. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in some candies, gums, and even peanut butter) are all toxic to pets. Some pets will open boxes of chocolates left under the tree or on the table. Be vigilant and keep them out of reach or in a cupboard.
  8. Alcohol may enhance our fun, but can be toxic and even fatal to our pets. Keep your cocktails out of range of inquisitive pets.
  9. Keep all human and pet medications out of reach of pets! Some pet medications are flavored to make them more palatable, and if left accessible an opportunistic pet may overdose on their own, or their housemate’s medications.
  10. Rich, fatty, low protein foods can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and even pancreatitis: a painful inflammation of the pancreas, in dogs. Keep them out of your pet’s mouth.