Decorating your home for the holidays is a fun activity for the whole family. The twinkling lights and bright colours can certainly make your abode feel warm and welcoming this time of year, even when it's cold and miserable outside.

Before you start decking the halls with boughs of holly and humming O Tannenbaum at your Christmas tree, however, it might be a good idea to make sure the items you bring into your house at this time of year are safe for your pet.

After all, you may have done all the research to ensure your pet gets the right nutrition with the raw dog food diet, or by selecting a top-quality food for your cat, but if your pet decides to nibble on the plants you bring into your home this time of year, he could become very sick.

Mistletoe

A kiss under the mistletoe is a popular Christmas tradition. However, ingesting this plant could lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, erratic behaviour and hallucinations, and it could be fatal.

Poinsettias

These plants have bright red leaves and are indigenous to Mexico. In recent years, they've become increasingly popular in the UK, but pets seem to really enjoy chewing on the foliage. And since the plants can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach, as well as vomiting, it's best to keep them out of Fluffy's reach.

Holly

Its bright red berries and deep green leaves make holly a popular holiday decoration, but consuming any part of the holly plant could lead to vomiting or diarrhoea, as well as depression.

Pine needles

The greenery from pine is all over the place during the festive season. Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands are all made from pine, creating a festive appearance and emitting a fresh scent. But if your pets eat pine needles, it could result in oral irritation, as well as lethargy, trembling and weakness in the back legs.

Lilies

Holiday bouquets can certainly make you smile, and they make excellent centrepieces at Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, one popular bloom for this time of year is a lily, and they can be extremely toxic to pets. In fact, even a small bite of some lily leaves could be fatal to cats.

Written by: Hannah