our advice: ASK DR. CATE Vet Rap by Dr. Ryan Cate BY DR. RYAN CATE and MELISSA MOORMAN Question: Dear Dr. Cte: We have a shelter pet we’ve recently adopted. How can we keep him safe through the upcoming holi- day season and what should we watch out for? 44 Answer: The holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family, and congratulations on your new addition. But, it’s also a time when your dog or cat can end up in the vet’s office, which no one has time for during this hectic time. Here are a few things to watch out for during the upcoming seasons. Christmas trees are hazard- ous in several different ways for our pets. Make sure they are secured and weighed down so they can’t be knocked over easily. Also, make sure that ornaments are hung high enough so as not to tempt your furry friends. They can end up with an intestinal blockage, as most ornaments aren’t edible. If you have a live tree, be care- ful of them [your pets] drinking the water at the base. It can have preservatives, chemicals and bacteria in it that can make your pet ill. Electric cords are another danger around the house during the holidays. Make sure they are taped down or tied back so they won’t tempt your pet to chew on them, get tangled up in them, or trip on them. Think through what you have out on your tabletops or on the floor. Some decorations might look or smell like food to your pet — especially potpour- ri or other scented items that smell like food might be too tempting for them to resist. While it’s a great time for holiday foods, many of those are toxic to animals. Nuts, alcohol, raisins, chocolate and coffee can be poisonous to our pets. Also don’t pass along bones to your dog from holiday meats like ham or turkey. They can splinter in your dog’s stom- ach or intestines. Those same foods with a large fat content can even lead to pancreatitis or other gastrointestinal upset. Ask your vet if a small bite of turkey is okay for a special treat. Flames are a concern during this season, especially around our pets. Candles can be upset and cause fires in your home at any time of year, but espe- cially during the holidays when you have a house full of guests who might make your animals nervous or high strung. Holiday plants can also be a concern. Keep dogs and cats away from poinsettias, mistle- toe and lilies, because they can cause stomach upset and irrita- tion if eaten. Lastly, although this isn’t a holiday item, keep your pets safe from antifreeze. It’s highly toxic to all pets. If you are careful with these few items, you can enjoy the festive season with your new family member and not have to take time out for an emergency trip to the vet.