Plan ahead to help pets limit stress during holidays

The holiday season is among the most stressful for people, what with family gatherings and financial matters, to name but a few reasons.

The same can be said for pets. Holiday gatherings and decorations include lots of materials that can be dangerous, even deadly, if eaten by the furry members of the household, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, a charitable organization.

Just the unexpected crowds of people can stress even a well-adjusted pet.

The AVMF provided this list of common sense ways to make your holiday environment safer for the family pet:

— Keep people food out of the reach, and ask that guests do the same.

— Make sure pets doesn’t have access to most holiday treats, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, grapes or raisins, onions or other foods that can be toxic to dogs and cats.

— Don’t leave pets alone in the room with lit candles, a decorated tree or potpourri.

— Keep holiday plants — especially holly, mistletoe and lilies — out of reach of pets.

— Leave tinsel off the tree if a cat is around, as the strings are easily swallowed and can cause internal damage.

— Secure Christmas trees to keep them from being toppled if the dog bumps into it or the cat climbs it. Hanging a lemon-scented car air fresheners in the tree may deter your cat from climbing it.

— When entertaining guests, provide a safe place for pets to escape the activity and noise, such as a kennel, crate, perching place, scratching post shelf or hiding place. If the pet is particularly excitable or scared, consider putting it in another room with some toys and a comfortable bed.