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Cornell Vet has holiday advice for pet owners

Santa Claus and a dog pose for a photo

Make sure your pets are kept safe and healthy during the holidays.

Keep your fur babies safe when decking the halls.

Dr. Brian Collins, section chief of community practice service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals says:

“When we bring symbols of the holidays into our homes, we’re introducing potential hazards for our pets, who find the shiny decorations and gift wrap very appealing. Keep ribbons, tinsel and other foreign objects out of their reach.”

“Lit candles are particularly dangerous for cats, who can knock them over no matter how far from the edge of the mantel or table we put them. Not only can that lead to burns for the cat, it can lead to a fire.”

“Pets that chew on extension cords and holiday lights are at risk for electrocution. Keep cords and lights out of reach, and unplug them whenever possible.”

“Common holiday plants can be a problem for pets. Poinsettias are not very toxic but contain a milky sap that can irritate their mouths. Any part of the mistletoe plant can be very toxic to animals. The berries and leaves of many species of holly may also be poisonous. All parts of the lily plant are toxic, including the pollen.”

“Probably everyone has a story about a family pet that took down the Christmas tree. Do your best to put your tree in a place where your pets will have limited access. If you’re looking for a living tree, check to see if chemicals were used to preserve freshness and look for pet-safe alternatives.”

Claudia Wheatley
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University