by Kym Byrnes

The holidays are around the corner, and that means adding all sorts of festive and fun decor to the house — indoors and out — as well as parties and guests and sugary foods. As you prepare for the holidays, be sure to consider the safety of any pets in the home. Here are some tips to help ensure your furry family members stay safe and healthy.

Hazardous Holiday Foliage

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Keep the plants and flowers out of reach of curious pets.

Oh, Unsafe Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree can pose a danger to pets in several ways. It should be anchored securely so it doesn’t tip and fall on them. This will also prevent the tree water — which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset — from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pets could end up with nausea or diarrhea if they drink it.

Skip the Sweets

We all know not to feed the pets chocolate or sweets, especially anything containing the sweetener Xylitol.
Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and secure the lids on garbage cans.

Nervous Nellies

Pets that are nervous around visitors should be put it in another room or a crate with a favorite toy — and guests should be reminded not to feed your animals.

No Tinsel Town

Tinsel is crinkly and flashy and could easily become a nightmare to kittens. A nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

Electric Emergency

Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. In addition, shards of breakable ornaments can injure your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

New Year’s Chaos

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and damage their sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.