Although how we eat, drink and be merry together may be different this holiday season, we still need to plan for our pet’s safety around seasonal food and décor. Here are 10 holiday safety tips to make the season bright for you and your animal companions!

1. Keep seasonal goodies out of reach. Many holiday treats have ingredients, such as macadamia nuts, chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and nutmeg, which are toxic to pets.

2. Avoid giving table scraps. They can be high in salt and fat, and contain other fixings that, although delicious to us, can be harmful to our fur friends. Instead try stuffing a Kong with some plain mashed sweet potato and cooked green beans.  Freeze the Kong and it will keep your pup busy and happy while the humans eat.

3. If you have a Christmas tree, secure it, so that it doesn’t fall if your dog brushes by or your cat decide to climb.

4. Avoid adding commercial preservatives to tree water. They aren’t necessary and may cause stomach upset and vomiting in pets.

5. Choose plastic over glass ornaments. The glass shards from a broken ornament can injure your pet’s feet or mouth.

6. Skip the tinsel. It’s shiny, fun and can cause an intestinal obstruction if your pet eats it. Try plastic icicles instead.

7. Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants contain compounds that can harm animals.  If you have these plants, keep them out of reach, or try some pet-friendlier alternatives such as Christmas cactus, ferns, red roses, white orchids, canna or autumn olive.

8. Stay merry, bright and safe with flameless candles.

9. If you can’t place cords and wires out of reach, tape them down with some festive duct tape.

10. Give your pet somewhere to retreat, a place to relax and recharge, away from holiday commotion.

Happy Howl-lidays!

By Tami Guy, MS, CPPS, founder of Creatures Pet Care of Kalamazoo.