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Holiday tips to keep your pets safe

While pets have a winter coat, your cat or dog can get just as cold outside. Keep your pets inside during these frigid months with plenty of toys and activities to occupy them.

During a party, many pets can become overwhelmed around your guests. A quiet room or crate is a great way to prepare ahead of time for unexpected bad behavior.

It is never a bad idea to communicate with guests that a pet will be present at the party. Here is a list of scraps to never let guests give your pet so you can avoid a vet trip this holiday.

Bones: Animals can easily break off tiny shards and splinters that can pierce its mouth. It can cause serious health issues for your pet.

Candy: Any candy containing Xylitol is toxic to your animal. Chocolate is specifically toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets.

Chives: This decorative vegetable can cause anemia at large doses.

Citrus and pits: Any food with citric acid is a bad idea for your pets. Cherry pits, peach pits, apple seeds, and more contain essential oils that can cause irritations, blockages and central nervous system depression. Even a few pieces of fruit can cause a really upset stomach for your pet.

Coffee: Animals are more sensitive to caffeine than humans and could cause an upset stomach and raise their blood pressure. This applies to grounds, beans and chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Eggs: Just like humans, raw or undercooked eggs can cause salmonella.

Fish: Raw or undercooked fish can contain parasites.

Garlic: Garlic is poisonous to most species of animals and can cause hemolytic anemia.

Grapes and raisins: It is best to avoid these due to the potential for kidney problems.

Leaves and stems: If ingested in large amounts, stems from vegetables such as tomatoes can be incredibly harmful.

Meat: Raw or undercooked meat can cause salmonella, E. coli, and more.

Nuts: Nuts like almonds cannot be properly digested by many pets.

Onions: Like chives, onions can cause anemia, including onion flakes and powder

Salt: This crucial cooking ingredient can cause sodium ion poisoning.

Trash: Many pets are tempted by food items in the trash can, so it's important to always keep trash cans tightly sealed.

Pets can get themselves in some sticky situations. It is always helpful to take some precautions on your holiday decorations.

Christmas trees and holiday greens: Pine needles can get stuck in the intestinal tract and cause a lot of issues for your pet. It is also toxic to cats and can cause liver damage.

Water base: The water base of a Christmas tree can contain dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet.

Christmas lights and tinsel: Many pets become intrigued by the lights and Christmas decorations on the tree. By positioning your tree’s lights and tinsel away from the bottom of the tree, pets cannot climb and knock them over.

Candles: Unattended candles can lead to a bad accident. Pets could knock them over or start a fire.

Firestarter logs: These logs contain sawdust and paraffin which can lead to an upset stomach or cause intestinal blockage when swallowed. This is especially crucial for dogs that tend to chew.

Plants: Many seasonal plants such as ivy, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are poisonous to pets if ingested.

How to travel comfortably with pets:

Make sure you consider whether it is worth it to take your pet with you on a trip. If you choose to leave your pet at home, make sure to choose a reliable and safe place for your pet to stay. If you choose to bring your pet with you, be sure to have a collar with an identification tag to reach you in case of an emergency.

Before you go, identify your closest 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic. Keep track of the number for your veterinarian or pet hospital. Lastly, make sure you research the clinic’s holiday hours.

Claire Becknell contributed this piece.

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