ST. CHARLES, Mo., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are full of family, fun and festivities - but can also be a source of potential hazards for our cats and dogs. From increased stress levels to particularly harmful foods, the season's activities can be a lot for pets to handle. Royal Canin, a global leader in pet health nutrition, is encouraging pet owners to take precautions to ensure all pets remain safe and healthy. According to a recent Nationwide Pet Insurance report, upset stomach and diarrhea rank among the top 10 reasons owners take their pets to the vet, and pets are at risk to factors that increase gastrointestinal issues around the holiday season. "Gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea are common in cats and dogs year-round, but can be especially common during the holiday season," said Dr. Catherine Lenox, a veterinary nutritionist and Royal Canin Scientific Affairs Manager. "When there is additional stress such as house guests or boarding, as well as more food around the house - including foods that humans can eat but that are toxic to pets - there is an increased risk of gastrointestinal disturbances in our pets." In order to avoid gastrointestinal problems during the holidays, pet owners should be sure to prevent easy access to hazardous foods, decrease stressful situations for their pets, and if necessary, talk to their veterinarian about precise nutrition options for their pets' digestive issues. Gastrointestinal issues - If your pet's routine is disrupted during the holidays, you may notice irregular digestive clinical signs, but they could actually be signs of an infection, or a more serious condition. If your pet experiences any signs or vomiting and diarrhea, you should contact your veterinarian immediately to determine the best course of action. Signs of gastrointestinal issues include: vomiting, regurgitation, diarrhea and decreased appetite. There are often simple solutions for many gastrointestinal cases. The Royal Canin line of veterinary-exclusive GASTROINTESTINAL™ formulas provide multiple options for individualized nutritional solutions for cats and dogs experiencing gastrointestinal issues. Toxic foods - It's no secret there are more treats around the house during the holidays, many of which can be especially harmful to pets. Guests may not realize that your dog or cat isn't allowed to eat table scraps, or that they should keep all food and leftovers out of reach. A change in diet can cause an upset stomach, especially if introduced rapidly. Holiday foods that are particularly hazardous to pets include: chocolate, especially dark chocolate, unbaked bread dough, macadamia nuts, turkey, alcohol, sugar-free candy and baked goods that include artificial sweeteners. Holiday décor, such as tinsel, poinsettias, or pine needles, as well as drinking water from the tree stand can also be potentially dangerous for curious pets. Increased stress - The holidays aren't just stressful times for humans, but pets, too! Pets are exposed to potentially overwhelming situations, such as boarding at a kennel, traveling, or being introduced to several new guests, which cause irregularity in routine and can lead to digestive issues. Any deviation from a pet's normal behavior can be an indication of stress, such as: poor appetite, decreased interaction with their owners and gastrointestinal disturbances such as vomiting and/or diarrhea. Owners can minimize pets' stress by providing a stable living environment and avoiding unpleasant interactions and experiences. Prior to the holidays, pet owners should consider ways to avoid potentially hazardous situations as noted by the National Pet Insurance report. Contact your veterinarian if you pet is showing any signs of discomfort or symptoms of digestive issues.