Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Pet owners beware! Many holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pets.

By Cynthia Dermody from Reader's Digest | December 2005

Before you deck your halls, think of your pet — many festive touches can be dangerous. “Our cat ate baby Jesus and the sheep around the Nativity,” says veterinarian Allan Paul of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Beware of these other seasonal standbys:

1. The Christmas tree If you add preservatives to tree water and Fido drinks it, he can suffer vomiting and diarrhea.

2. Tinsel and ribbon When cats chew on these decorative touches, strands can ball up in the GI tract, requiring surgery.

3. Chocolate It contains the chemical theobromine, which can lead to tremors, arrhythmia and seizures. Just 4-5 ounces can be toxic to dogs and cats.

4. Holiday plants If your pet eats poinsettia, he’ll get an upset tummy. But also keep him away from mistletoe and holly. The berries and leaves are toxic and small amounts can cause depression.

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