Christmas is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year; the colorful lights, the jolly decorations, the presents, and having the people you love around you surely make it a magical holiday.

While this may apply for most of us, the same cannot be said about our furry companions. Drinking from the Christmas-tree water, ingesting tinsel, or having a piece of food that is toxic for a cat or a dog are just a few examples of the dangers lurk about this season brings. Let’s explore the top hazards to watch out for around Christmas.

1. Electrical Cords

If your pet constantly chews various cables around the house, then taking extra cautions during Christmas – when you have all those additional lights strung up around the house – is mandatory. To avoid a tragedy, remember to always turn off the lights when you’re not at home; in case you have a bigger house, turn off the lighted decorations in the rooms you’re not using.

2. Christmas tree

Although the Christmas tree itself doesn’t constitute a danger, the ornaments some people carelessly place on low-lying branches are a recipe for disaster when pets are involved. Avoid putting fragile decorations in places your pet can easily reach when it’s in the mood to play. Ideally, you should make sure that both the tree and ornaments are secured to avoid any accidents.

3. Holiday plants

Granted, not all holiday plants are actually toxic for cats and dogs. For instance, Christmas cactuses and poinsettias are practically harmless and cause minor irritations in the mouth area if ingested. However, holly and mistletoe are toxic and are known to cause heart arrhythmia when eaten. If you decide to include these plants in your Christmas decorations, then make sure to place them in an area that your furry friends don’t have access to.

4. Alcohol

Be careful where you leave glasses of wine or cups with eggnog and punch, especially if you know your cat or dog is rather curious. While most animals stay away from them, some might try a sip of alcoholic beverages. In case you didn’t know, alcohol depresses the nervous system and causes lethargy, disorientation, lack of coordination, breathing problems, tremors, seizures, and even coma when ingested in larger quantities.

5. Ribbons and tinsel

While it’s a genuinely good idea to include your pet into your family’s holiday activities, it’s better to refrain from wrapping tinsel or ribbons around its neck. In the event when your cat or dog gets scared somehow, they will start running around with it and, in an attempt to break free, they risk choking. At the same time, if they swallow tinsel or other holiday decorations, there’s a fair chance for the festive accessories to become lodged in the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.

Extra: The holiday rush

We’re convinced that you’re looking forward to the bustle of the holiday seasons. However, having constant visitors over and the amount of activity can be stressful for your four-legged friend. In case your cat or dog is suffering from an ailment or is old, the change of routine and the holiday rush may cause them to become irritable, have diarrhea, or show signs of stomach discomfort. To reduce the stress on your pets, remember to create a safe, quiet haven for them to retreat to.