To most people, the holidays provide a time for warmth and celebration. It’s a time for reflection, a time to give thanks.

I would venture to say that this holiday season, you’d rather spend time gathered with your family, than in a veterinarian’s office for an emergency visit.

Help prevent animal mishaps this holiday season with these simple tips.

Keep your holiday decorations under wrap.
Whether its garland and lights, or pine cones and plants, make sure your pet can’t reach your holiday decorations. Most seasonal shrubbery and decor items can be poisonous and harmful if chewed or ingested.
If a Christmas tree is a must in your home, make sure it’s properly stable and secure.  Also, make sure you place breakable ornaments out of reach.
String, ribbon, and tinsel can be very appealing to your cat. Although he will love playing with these decorations, they can cause damage to his insides. Contemplate keeping your tree in a room he doesn’t often visit, or put up a baby gate.

Keep an eye on what Fido is putting in his mouth.
Food can be a major culprit in pet emergencies. So be sure that your holiday guests know which foods are a no-no for your pets. Fatty scraps, turkey bones, alcoholic beverages, chocolate and candy can be harmful or fatal.
Also on the naughty list is the sugar substitute Xylitol, bread dough, and onions. If your pet ingests these or any other potentially harmful product, or suddenly begins vomiting, you should probably seek emergency medical care.

Provide solace.
During parties, pets can become overstimulated and stressed. If your pet is easily frightened or uncomfortable around people, the holidays can be a stressful time. Ensure you have a room where your pet can relax and not be bothered by visitors. This location should be away from the festivities and should have fresh water, a couple of toys, and a comfortable place to sleep.

Prevent a disappearing act.
With people coming and going out the door, it can be easy for a pet to make a break for it. Make sure your pet is always wearing his ID tag, and that it is up to date. Notify your neighbors that you will be having a party and to call you right away if they see one of your pets outside unattended. 

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet-related topic.