Tips for keeping your pets safe during the holidays

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The holidays can be an exciting time of the year, but for pets it can be dangerous if you don't take the right precautions.

Decorating is a tradition for many families, but certain decorations can create a risks for pets.

Crayton Valkner is dog owner, he says his dogs like the presents.

"They think everyone is for them so they kind of want to get a little nosy, but once they are told no to stay away from them they usually do pretty well," Valkner said.

However, not all pets listen.

Veterinarian Dr. Calley Hille is the Owner of Lowcountry Pet Wellness Clinic in North Charleston. 

"Who knew that Christmas could be so dangerous for our pets," Hille said.   

She warns owners to watch their pets around Christmas decorations and trees. She says the trees should be secure in your home.

"Some of the pines and the oils they put off... you can have eye trauma through the needles that can physically traumatize the animal," Hille said. 

The tree's water could also grow bacteria. You also need to make sure your pets don't eat tree needles, whether they're real or fake, it can cause problems in their digestive tract.

"You don't want them to eat anything they're not supposed to around the tree or any of the packed paper," Valkner said.

Dr. Hille says mistletoe can be poisonous and you should avoid using tinsel because it's shiny and attractive. Garland has caused issues too. 

"I had one lab that ate I think it was 10 feet of garland...that was dangerous," she said. "Actually I ended up marrying that client."

You should also be careful with ornaments depending on what they're made of they can be life threatening if your animals digest them. 

"My tree is only decorated the last foot and all of the rest is kept undecorated, just really think about things from your pet's view and what might they do with it each thing," Hille said.

For some owners, they don't know how their pets might react until they're in front of all the decorations. 

"First real big Christmas, so we'll find out here at the end of the month whether or not he straightens out this year," Valkner said.

You should not only be cautious with decorations, but foods can create risks too.

Dr. Hille says you should not give your dogs leftover bones because they could splinter.

It's commonly known that our pets should not eat chocolate, but they should also avoid nuts. They are high in fat and can make your pets sick. 

They also need to stay away from raisins that could be in some of your holiday deserts. Raisins can shut down your pet's kidneys.

To be on the safe side you should keep human food and treats away from your pets. 

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