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A happy, healthy holiday for all!

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44Next week is Christmas, and the majority of pet-friendly households plan on including their furry friends in the festivities. However, it’s important for pet parents to take precautions to ensure that everyone has a happy holiday, including all of the four-legged family members.

Just say no to mistletoe (and poinsettias and holly): these plants are poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested and can cause gastrointestinal upset. Keep these plants far out of reach of your pets or better yet, opt for a pet-friendly bouquet this holiday.

O Christmas tree: dogs and cats are naturally curious about the big, colorful tree that now sits in the middle of the room. Even more intriguing are the lights, ornaments and tinsel hanging about. Consider having a tinsel-less tree this year. Tinsel is something pets often try to consume. It can easily cause an obstruction in their digestive tract, which can result in surgery. It’s also not a bad idea to securely anchor your tree to prevent tips and injury to your pets (and your favorite glass ornaments!)

Candles: these are common this time of year, but it’s important not to leave pets unattended when candles are burning. Curious pets can tip them over, potentially injuring themselves or starting a fire.

Pass on the leftovers (for the most part): don’t pile your pup’s plate high with all the same trimmings that are on yours-they will not be used to this amount of human food and could develop gastrointestinal distress. Also, never give your pet bones to chew on that could become lodged in their throat.

No sweet treats: though it’s mostly common knowledge, keep all the Christmassy sugary foods away from your pet, especially chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause anything from diarrhea to seizures and in some cases, death.

Wrap it up: Keep gift wrap along with bows and ribbon away from pets. These are often fun to play with (especially for cats!) but if consumed, they can cause intestinal blockages.

Keep em’ happy: when guests arrive, if your pet is particularly shy and fearful of new people, make sure you have a warm, safe place for them to retreat to, away from the noise. Make sure they have fresh water and a bed to snuggle in to make them feel secure.

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s health, please make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.