The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family. Celebrating and entertaining are large components of what makes holiday festivities so enjoyable. Holiday hosts with pets must consider companion animals when planning the festivities.

The holiday season brings added dangers for pets and not just the various holiday foods that are unsafe or unhealthy for pets. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, many homeowners are preparing to decorate their homes for Christmas as soon as the leftovers are put away.

• Secure the tree. Securely anchor the Christmas tree so that it won’t tip over on anyone, including rambunctious pets. Also, stagnant tree stand water can grow bacteria. If a pet should drink the water, it may end up with nausea or diarrhea. Replenish the tree basin with fresh water daily.

• Skip the candles. When creating mood lighting, opt for electronic or battery-powered lights instead of open flames. Pets may knock over candles, and that can be an instant fire hazard.

• Be picky about plants. Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias can be dangerous in pet-friendly households. These plants can cause gastrointestinal upset and may lead to other problems if ingested. Opt for artificial replicas instead. If guests bring flowers, confirm they are nontoxic to pets before putting them on display.

• Avoid Tinsel. Tinsel is one of the worst tree trimming items for pets, especially cats. This is because it can cause a serious intestinal blockage when consumed. Avoid tinsel and all string-like decorations, including curling ribbon.

• Designate a safe space for pets. If the holiday hustle proves too much for cats, dogs, birds, and more, give the pet a safe, quiet spot away from the crowds.

• Breakable ornaments – Glass bulbs are particularly appealing to pets who love to bat them around. Inevitably, one or more ornaments will be broken, which could cause possible injury to your pet. To avoid this disaster, place any breakable ornaments high on the tree or, better yet, buy unbreakable plastic or wood decorations.

Holiday hosts should factor in pet safety when they open their homes to guests.

For more information call Appalachian Animal Hospital at (423) 587-4393 to schedule your appointment today.

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