Holiday Decorating Tips For Those With Pets - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

Holiday Decorating Tips For Those With Pets

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By:  Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - With Christmas quickly approaching many families around the metro are decorating their homes, but how can those decorations affect your animals.

Fox 42 News spoke with a veterinarian who gave her tips on how to keep your curious pets safe when they get into your holiday displays.

The Nebraska Humane Society recommends decorating your home with your pets in mind.  It said not only are the items on your tree potentially dangerous, it said the plants inside your home could also be poisonous.

Tinsel, ribbon, garland; Dr. Amber Horn with the Nebraska Humane Society says they all are dangerous to pets.  "When they swallow it, it can actually get into their gut into their intestines and cause some twisting and tangling."

She said even the ornaments can be hazardous to your four legged loved ones.  "In general, just knowing how curious your pet may be certain pets they want to climb the tree so you may need to gradually introduce them to the Christmas ornaments or to the holiday ornaments and if you find they are really interested in them you may need to re–consider where you place your ornaments or decorations in your house."

And if you want to avoid picking up the pieces of your favorite ornament, you may have to re–think what kind of ornaments your buying.  "Some pets, especially cats, like to climb the trees so you may have to avoid glass altogether."

But it's not just the man–made stuff, the plants around your home can also be fatal.  Dr Horn said pine needles can cause sores in animal's mouths if eaten and she says mistletoe can do much worse.  "Mistletoe can cause vomiting and diarrhea, they can also cause more serious things, seizures, it can possibly cause death."

While Dr. Horn said poinsettias could irritate your pet's stomach, a florist said poinsettias are actually not poisonous; it's just an old wise tale.  "A lot of people do think the poinsettia is poisonous to your pets but they really are not.  They would have to eat over 5,000 of them at one sitting in order for them to be poisonous, but the one thing that is bad is they do milk when you break them off and that's why cats like to suck on them and nip on them." manager of Taylor's Floral Shop, Tracy Taylor said.

And while Taylor's Floral Shop sells poinsettias in a variety of colors, she encourages people to buy artificial.  "Just because it's more value for your money, you can use them each year, you can add new to spruce them up with just little things to make them go a little further."

Making any Christmas display elegant and safe.

Dr. Horn also warns about Christmas lights.  Pets can electrocute themselves chewing on the wires, but she says they also burn hot.  She recommends buying LED lights. 

If you're a parent or a host, it's recommended that you take some precautions around babies and toddlers as well. 

Lights can be a choking hazard.

When opening gifts, be careful of those scraps of paper and ribbons left on the floor, little children can find them later.

And make sure your guests are careful with their beverages.  Things like glasses of wine, beer, or eggnog can be trouble and hot things like coffee or tea can be dangerous. 

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