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Christmas trees pose many dangers to pets
Christmas tree water can contain fertilizers and bacteria. If ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets. Decorations such as ribbons and tinsel are very attractive to pets, but if ingested can cause intestinal obstruction. Electric lights can also be an issue, especially if your pet has a habit of chewing on cords. Secure your tree so it cannot be toppled over if an excited dog or cat jumps onto it.

Mistletoe
This common Christmas plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, erratic behavior, and even death in pets. Keep it far away from your pets, or use artificial plants to decorate.

Poinsettias
This plant can cause irritation to your pet’s mouth and stomach, and even vomiting. While not as toxic as Mistletoe, it should be placed carefully so your pets do not eat or chew on it.

Macadamia Nuts
Although the toxic principal of macadamia nuts is still unknown, they can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscular stiffness, vomiting, tremors, and increased heart rate if ingested by pets.

Holly
Commonly used for decorating during the holiday season, holly can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Not to mention it can scratch up noses and mouths!

Chocolate
Dogs and chocolate are a well-known dangerous combination. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. Keep all chocolate and chocolate-related products away from your pet. The best treats for your dog are quality dog treats – we have plenty to choose from at our shelter!

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs. Although the toxic component of grapes and raisins is unknown, ingesting them can cause kidney damage and failure.

Turkey, ham, stuffing, and all the trimmings
Although we all like our pet to be part of each holiday feast, remember that giving your pet any food they're not used to eating, especially ones that are rich or salty, can cause severe stomach upset, or pancreatitis in the worst cases. Save the leftovers for the humans and give your pet their usual treats. They won't know the difference, and it could save you an emergency trip to the vet.

Adopting a pet as a gift
While we have our homes decorated for the holidays, many of those temporary decorations pose extra dangers for a pet just learning about his/her new home. Santa and lights may be fun for us, but the sounds and sights can be scary for a cat or dog who hasn’t seen them before. HSAC recommends gift certificates instead of live animals for gifts, especially when it is a surprise. This way, you can still give the gift of a pet, but the person or family can choose the pet that’s best for their situation after the bustle of the holiday season has passed.