Whether family comes to visit during the holidays, or you take Fido or Fluffy with you to visit a relative’s home, it is important to remember the dangers that the holidays can pose to companion animals.

It can be hard to control all the circumstances involving your pet, especially around family and friends. While you know that chocolate is harmful to dogs and that cats can easily choke on ribbon, not all folks share the same level of pet awareness.

Aunt Gina might slip bits of a holiday cookie to the dog, or your little nephew may think it’s fun to tease the cat with a ribbon game. Making an effort to educate your family members and friends about common pet threats can ensure that everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday season.

Caution family and friends to keep pets away from the items below:

  • Alcohol
  • Aluminum foil
  • Anti-freeze
  • Avocado
  • Candles/open flames
  • Cellophane
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas tree water
  • Coffee
  • Cooked bones
  • Electrical cords
  • Fatty foods
  • Glass ornaments
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Holly berries
  • Ice-melting chemicals
  • Lilies
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mistletoe
  • Nicotine
  • Onions
  • Poinsettias
  • Ribbons
  • Tinsel
  • Yeast dough

“Items that seem harmless to us can cause serious illness or injury to our pets,” said RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “For example, tinsel, ribbons and cellophane wrappers, if swallowed, can create intestinal obstructions that could require surgery to treat.”

Don’t forget to share these tips with family members that might be helping care for your pets this winter:

Resist the temptation to reward pets with “people food.”

Especially abundant during the holidays, chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and hyperactivity, along with increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Sweet-tooth dangers: Candies containing a sweetener called xylitol are also toxic.

Not for pets: Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages and greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause upset stomachs.

Decorate with caution.

Keep away from the kitties: Tinsel, ribbons, aluminum foil and cellophane can cause intestinal blockages if ingested.

They may look like toys, but glass ornaments can cause injury and electrical wires can shock animals who chew on them.

Not a water bowl: Cover Christmas tree water with a tree skirt – it may contain fertilizers or bacteria that could make your pets sick if they drink from it.

Go faux: Since many common plants, like mistletoe, poinsettias, holly berries and lilies can all be toxic to animals, keep these items well out of reach or consider using artificial versions.

Keep pets indoors.

Brrrr! Low temperatures, wind, rain and snow can lead to illness and death for a pet living outdoors.

Beware the popsicle bowl: Water bowls can freeze in cold weather.

Cold in the car: Never leave your pet in a car during cold temperatures.

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones, both two-legged and four-legged. Read and advise others to follow these pet safety tips so you can avoid unnecessary and stressful trips to the veterinarian.

Keep a copy of these tips handy in your home by downloading our flier