Hola!! Welcome back to my Woof column, and guess what: Holiday season is here! Many of us have been waiting for this time of the year, for a lot of different reasons. Our furry loved ones will be enjoying these holidays with us, but remember to make sure the holidays are as safe for them as possible.

As a Puerto Rican man, the first thing I think about when it comes to the holiday season is the cold weather. I have been in the States for about 14 years, and I am still not used to the cold! Make sure not to leave your babies outside unattended for extended periods of time and to always supervise them outside, because we do see some wild animals attacking our beloved pets left outside on their own.

The holiday season would not be complete without decorations, and when decorating, it is important to pet-proof our homes and avoid items that could be ingested or broken into pieces by our pets. Avoid having plants that are easily accessible to dogs or cats, especially if they are known for nibbling on plants. Some of these plants can be very toxic for our babies. Make sure that all electric cords are secured and hidden. Keep gifts away from your pups and kitties, since they can be interested in exploring those gifts with their mouths and nails.

If you were thinking about giving away a cat or dog as a gift, please consider adopting instead of buying, especially adopting a pet with special needs or a senior baby. And be sure you are making the right decision, because that baby will be relying on their new family, and a pet is a long-term commitment. Never give pets as gifts without careful consideration and without approval from the family receiving the pet.

Food is a vital part of the holiday season, but please avoid giving table scraps to your pets. Many dogs and cats can be sensitive to different types of human food, and, after eating table scraps, they can end up with everything from mildly soft stools or a vomit to life-threatening conditions that may lead to hospitalization and intensive treatments.

Also keep in mind that many of us can accidentally drop food, and, if our babies are around, they will likely get to that dropped morsel before we do. This is even more possible when there are human kids present or when alcohol is involved. Consider informing everyone ahead of time that your babies cannot have any table scraps, or consider putting your babies away when food is served.

For many people, exchanging gifts is part of the holiday traditions. Our pets deserve gifts too, but, just like with us humans, there are bad gifts for pets. If you have cats, avoid toys that have threads or feathers and toys that can break down to threads. Consider catnip-stuffed toys or interactive, robotic toys as options.

If you have dogs, avoid hard toys and bones, as they can break their teeth. If you cannot put an indentation on the toy with your fingernail, the toy is too hard. Avoid smaller toys that can be swallowed and stuffed toys if your dog is known for destroying them and swallowing the contents. I recommend avoiding fatty treats and sticking to healthier options like baby carrots, apples and green beans, among others.

Many people celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks, but fireworks can be terrifying to pets. Consider putting your babies in a room with a white noise machine and, if possible, away from the outside walls. If your pet’s anxiety is too severe, please consult with your veterinarian ahead of time to discuss other options.

I wish everyone the best, now and always, and I hope that we see every day as a new opportunity to improve ourselves. Please remember to be kind to those around you and to approach everything with a positive mindset. It is OK to not be OK, but always know that someone out there is ready to help. ¡¡Felices fiestas y muchos abrazos!

Dr. Josh owns Isla Veterinary Boutique Hospital,14380 Marsh Ln. Ste. 110 Addison. Call him at 972-738-1111 or visit IslaVet.com