Keeping your pets safe over the holiday season is important, especially with Christmas decorations

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Decorations can be one way to raise your holiday spirit, especially when people put up their Christmas trees on Thanksgiving or soon after.

Something to know or remember is that if your pets get into certain things, it can be harmful to them.

Here are a few things to know about keeping an eye on your pets when holiday decorations are out

Things that can be harmful to pets

“Real trees and artificial trees can both cause stomach upset and, if they chew the branches or the needles that can cause irritation in the mouth. And then also they can get some stomach blockages or some things that go on in the GI tract. So that would be something we would want to avoid,” Tami Bremer, practice manager of Mountain View Animal Hospital, said.

Also keep any eye on pets around:

  • Christmas ornaments
  • Tinsel
  • Mistletoe
  • Chocolate
  • Water for real trees
    • “The water can also be a danger for real trees,” Bremer said. “It can have some fertilizer in there, or it can develop mold or bacteria that would be dangerous for the pets to drink.”
  • Lights and electrical wires
  • Foods and meals around the holidays

Ways to keep them safe

It might not happen as often with older cats and dogs, but still being aware of what they’re doing is important. It is mainly puppies and kittens that you have to care for.

  • Keep your usual routine.
    • “We just wanna make sure that we keep up our normal exercise and attention for our pets,” Bremer said. “So we wear them out and don’t get too far from the regular routine, so they don’t get bored and find other things to do.”
  • Secure your tree so it doesn’t tip over if they happen to bump into it.
    • Maybe put up a barrier around it.
  • Put decorations and lights closer to the middle of the tree instead of on the ends where it’s more accessible.
  • Avoid food items as decorations as well like popcorn strings.
  • First year of having a puppy or kitten, a smaller tree that’s up on a table might be better.

If your dog, cat, or other pet is poisoned or you think they might be, call the pet poison helpline at 800-213-6680.

“It’s new things usually in the house. Novel things that pets want to go toward,” Bremer said. “It’s a busy time of year. So, sometimes if a pet is left while we’re doing all of our stuff, they can have access to things that they wouldn’t normally have and it seems fun to them.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News