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By Berlin Galvan for the Santa Barbara Humane Society | Published on 12.09.2015 1:26 p.m.

The holiday season is a time of celebration and cheer for humans and their pets alike. In the midst of decorating and planning, it’s important to be aware of special challenges that can be presented to pets.

The Santa Barbara Humane Society has gathered a list of tips to make the most out of a safe holiday season with your furry friend:

  1. If you deck the halls with holly, mistletoe and poinsettia, keep them out of your pet’s reach. They are poisonous! Tinsel and pine needles can also lead to possible vet visits as they can puncture intestines if ingested. Keep your pet preoccupied with a food-stuffed Kong or a catnip toy.
  2. Oh, Christmas tree! Be sure to securely anchor your Christmas tree to prevent any injuries to your pet.  Remove breakable low-hanging ornaments if you have a playful pet.
  3. A festival of lights may spark your pet’s curiosity. Don’t leave lit candles unattended as they can cause a fire if knocked over. Douse the light if leaving the room.
  4. Pets love table scraps, however, be mindful of the following foods that are dangerous to pets:
    • Fatty, rich foods can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.
    • Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are toxic to dogs, even in small quantities.
    • Cooked bones can easily splinter and choke your pet.
    • Use treats and soft chews as an alternative to table scraps
  1. As the holiday and New Year celebrations begin, consider giving your pet an indoor space of their own to retreat to with fresh water and a place to snuggle as noisy poppers and fireworks can terrify them.

If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider supporting the Santa Barbara Humane Society by visiting their wishlist on Amazon to help their adoptable animals stay happy, healthy and adoptable.

You can also make a shelter animal’s life happy by opening your home to a new furry family member.

The Santa Barbara Humane society is located at 5399 Overpass Road in Santa Barbara. It will close at noon on Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas and New Years Day. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit for more information and a list of adoptable animals.

— Berlin Galvan is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Humane Society.

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