It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with goodies, gifts and garland galore. But as you’re decking the halls and ushering in the holiday spirit, keep your pet’s safety in mind.

Truth or myth?
Poinsettias’ reputation for being poisonous can be traced back to a rumor that surfaced in 1919. While the sap of the plant can cause mild GI upset, researchers have found the plant to be only mildly toxic, if at all.

Decorations
• Keep your Christmas tree anchored to the wall or ceiling
• Use a tree skirt to prevent your pets from drinking water
• Vacuum fallen tree needles, as they can puncture your pet’s GI tract
• Tinsel and ribbons can become lodged in the intestines, which may require emergency surgery
• Hang breakable, metal and edible ornaments higher on your tree

Food for Thought: these popular holiday foods are hazards for your pet’s health.
• Chocolate: the darker it is, the higher the level of theobromine and the higher the risk of toxicity
• Grapes and raisins: can result in acute kidney failure. Watch the trail mix, grape juice and fruit salad!
• Fatty foods: gravies, buttery sauces and fatty meats like ham can trigger pancreatitis
• Onions, chives and garlic: can damage red blood cells and cause GI irritation
• Xylitol: an artificial sweetener used in many products that can drive blood sugar to dangerously low levels

Plant Poisons
• Mistletoe and holly: the berries and leaves can cause severe intestinal upset including vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling
• Lilies: cats are especially susceptible to the toxins in lilies and bulbs
• Christmas tree: needles can cause GI irritation, and the water in the tree stand can contain pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that can harm your pets

Rules for Giving Pets as Gifts:
1) Make sure your loved one has expressed an interest in having a pet.
2) Involve the recipient in the adoption process to ensure a good match.
3) When in doubt, consider a gift certificate to cover adoption fees, or a basket of food, toys and essentials to help them prepare for the new addition.

We wish you a safe and happy Paw-liday season with your beloved companions!