If you're a pet lover and have animals in your home now would be a great time to spend a few minutes scoping out your surroundings to see if there aren't any hidden dangers lurking for your animal friends. While the holiday season is quite festive for us as humans, it holds unique set of dangers for our dogs and cats.

Assistant Professor Dr. Nancy Welborne with the LSU Vet School says this time of year can turn from festive to tragic very quickly.  For example, a well meaning relative or a guest with good intention might decide that your pup or kitty needs a taste from the human table. That's not a good idea. Eating rich holiday foods can not only be tough on a human's diet, it can make a dog or a cat very ill.

The other thing we worry about with food from the table is feeding dogs and cats bones. They shouldn’t eat them, especially poultry bones that tend to sliver because that can cause obstruction problems.

Dr. Welborne's remarks were chronicled in a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network. 

She went on to say that the excitement of the holiday season can also increase the chances of pets accidentally ingesting foods that are not good for them. How many times has your child simply dumped the contents of their stocking directly on the floor leaving candy, chocolate, and other tasty treats for the taking by your animals. Dog's are particularly susceptible to issues with chocolate. It's toxic to their system.

It can cause problems with their heart rate, it can cause arrhythmias and if they eat enough of it, it can cause seizures.

So please caution the little ones as best you can during this exciting time of year. Another familiar food you should be particularly careful with is peanut butter. Many commercially produced peanut butters contain sweetening agents that can be quite difficult for dog's to digest. 

Another rule of thumb to remember, what looks like an ornament to us probably looks like a chew toy to your dog or cat. Be mindful of ornaments that might drop off your tree and on to the ground. These can become choking hazards for dogs and cats plus there is the potential for them to ingest the metal hook that is used to attach the ornament to the tree.

One other reminder if you're leaving Santa a treat by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, make sure you stash the cookies and milk out of animal reach. Our dog Max once ate plate of cookies intended for Santa and then proceeded to leave a present all over the living room floor. Trust me, that was worse than a lump of coal to wake up to.