ST. LOUIS — While it might be the "most wonderful time of the year" for humans, many holiday traditions — feasts, festive decorations and long-distance road trips — can be dangerous for pets if you aren't aware of their risks.
The Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Medical Center of Mid-America offered the following tips for pet owners to ensure the holidays are a joyful and safe time for dogs, cats and other animals.
Say 'no' to table food
Many of the foods and beverages served at holiday dinners shouldn't be shared with your furry friends.
Fatty or spicy foods, chocolate and other sweets can cause severe stomach issues for pets. Turkey, chicken or ham bones can break and splinter, causing mouth injuries and intestinal blockage for your pet.
Keep cocktails out of reach. Be on the look out for signs your pet may have gotten a hold of one, like lethargy, drooling, vomiting or collapsing, and contact a veterinarian if they do.
In general, you should avoid feeding your pet any food they're not used to eating to avoid upset stomachs.
Decorations pose danger
Household decorations can be toxic for your pets.
Chewing on lights or cords can cause your pet to be shocked.
Ingesting mistletoe, rosemary or holly berries can result in severe gastrointestinal upset. Decorations, tinsel, glass ornaments and tree needles can all cause gastrointestinal trouble or puncturing of their intestinal lining.
The water at a live tree's base can pose the most danger, as the sap, preservatives and fire retardant in the water are harmful to dogs and cats.
Whether you're taking your pet on a cross-country trip or just across town, it should always be in a securely fastened pet carrier or a travel safety harness that attaches to your car's seatbelt. These can prevent injury to your pet in the event of a hard break or crash.
Make sure your pet is always wearing its collar and identification tags, and update your contact information if your pet is microchipped.