Here’s how to make sure the holidays are safe for your pet!

Some holiday decorations can pose health risks to pets, and so can some favorite foods commonly found on the dinner table.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Holidays bring families together, and for many families, that can include dogs and cats. While enjoying a holiday dinner or decorating the house, families may not consider how a table scrap or festive flower can affect their pet’s health.

Bones can break easily and cause serious complications. Health problems for pets if eaten. Therefore, families should avoid giving their pets conventional turkey cuts without carefully examining the bones. A simple carved turkey doesn’t pose much of a risk, though, and pet parents can prepare a special bowl for their pet before family gatherings.

Candy is another common feature of the holidays, but many types are toxic to dogs. Pet owners should never give chocolate to their dogs, and they should also avoid giving pets candy that contains xylitol, a toxic sweetener. According to the Humane Society. Oils in foods such as lemons, cherries or apples can also cause irritation or obstruction. Some can also affect the nervous system of animals.

According to the Humane Society, pets should also avoid coffee, garlic, grapes, raisins, onions, salt, eggs and processed meats. Many types of spices and seasonings can cause health problems in pets.

Owners should also ensure that pets avoid chewing on limbs or falling from Christmas trees. Pine needles can lodge inside a pet’s intestinal tract, causing obstruction or puncture. Many seasonal plants can also be toxic to pets, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.

The Humane Society also said pet owners should make sure to keep any candles out of reach of pets. Dogs and cats can knock them over, burning them, spreading wax or starting a fire.

Families hosting a gathering at home should also let guests know they have pets and keep an eye on them during the event. Pets can get excited when new people arrive and start chewing on unexpected objects as part of that excitement. The Humane Society also recommends providing animals with a quiet room or crate ahead of time during holiday parties.

Families traveling on vacation should consider whether to take pets with them. If they leave their pets at home, they should make sure they leave them at a trusted pet sitter or certified boarding kennel. When leaving, pet owners should ensure that dogs and cats also wear collars and tags with identification, including contact information.

A pet gift should also be appropriate for size and play style. Pet owners should carefully evaluate gifts before purchasing them to make sure they can be safely digested or will not harm their pets.

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