Happy Pawlidays: Have a safe and fun holiday season with your pet!

I personally love the holiday season- the weather is crisp and cold (at least sometimes), there are lights in many windows, and it is a great excuse to have merry parties with friends and family. It is also a great time to enjoy hanging out with your furry family members.
Though many of us love the holiday season, it is good to be aware of things that can be potentially dangerous for our pets.

Christmas Trees:Christmas Trees 1
A green Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments is a beautiful sight. However, do take a few precautions to make sure it is also safe for your pets.
• Anchor your tree down so it doesn’t topple onto a curious pet
• Hang tinsel, ornaments and lights out of the reach of your pet- these can cause intestinal damage with pricey vet bills if ingested or shock if they chew through wires
• Clean up pine needles if you have a live tree- these too can cause intestinal damage
• Avoid decorating your tree with food, like candy canes or popcorn strings- this would just be asking your pet to get into trouble
• If all else fails, use a exercise pen gate to block off direct access to the tree and the presents below

Poisonous Plants:
Plants can help place the finishing touches on our festive décor, but be aware that most household plants are somewhat poisonous to our pets. Here are some holiday specific plants to avoid or keep well out of Fido’s reach:
• Holly: causes upset stomach and can be fatal
• Mistletoe: causes upset stomach and can cause heart collapse
• Hibiscus: causes diarrhea
• Poinsettias: the sap can cause blistering in the mouth and stomach upset
If you want the same cheer these festive plants bring, try imitation plants instead.

Feasting on foods:
We all love to spoil our pets, especially around the holidays when the spirit of giving has a hold on us. However, be careful not to spoil your pet with foods that can make him sick.
• Avoid fatty or rich foods, like the fatty parts of a turkey or the gravy- this can lead to stomach upset or pancreatitis
• Avoid chocolate and coffee as these contain a component that can lead to nervous or urinary system damage
• Keep that spiked eggnog and other adult beverages out of your pets reach- alcohol can cause serious intoxications and death
• Resist giving your dog the bones from the turkey to snack on- cooked bones can splinter and cause punctures or tearing in the intestines- instead try a stuffed Kong, antler, or bully stick as a holiday treat
• Xylitol- a sweetner present in some gums, mints, candy, etc. can be extremely toxic to our pets

Merry Visitors:
The holidays are a time to spend with the ones we love- however for some of our beloved pets all this activity can be scary and stressful. Make sure to pay attention to what your pet is telling you and arrange a space where they can go out of the way to relax and be calm.
• If you have a shy or nervous dog, make sure to set up a room they can go to and be undisturbed, or just set them up in this room from the get go
• If you pet needs a little extra help to calm down, try a natural calming supplement like Only Natural Pet’s Relaxi-Herb Herbal Formula—these types of relaxing formulas use herbs to help have a calming effect on your pet
• If you have an exuberantly friendly dog, make sure you practice polite greeting habits before those guests arrive so your dog knows what you expect from them- if this isn’t possible, then put them in a back room or in the yard when people are first arriving and let them join the party when things have calmed down a little

Planning ahead and putting some thought into how you decorate can ensure that you and your furry family member have safe and happy holidays and bring in the New Year with joy!