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Keep your pets safe this holiday season

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Updated: January 17, 2013 6:23AM



Dear Readers: It’s Christmas-strutting time for “snarky” black and white shih tzus that have not been very good this year. Wait, that’s me.

Oh my, I just love this jolly holiday season but, according to my human family, for all the wrong reasons.

People leave doors open, I can chew the grandchildren’s toys and post myself in the kitchen to catch whatever Christmas treat drops to the floor.

My woman human reads all the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stuff about keeping my eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. She is no fun at all when she quotes the ASPCA and steers me away from the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during the holidays:

O Christmas Tree

Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet.

This will also prevent the tree water — which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset — from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should it imbibe.

Tinsel-less Town

Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for Your Furry Friends

By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy

Are you looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible.

Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer — and tons of play sessions together.

Forget the Mistletoe and Holly

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.

Leave the Leftovers

Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

That Holiday Glow

Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up

Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

Careful with Cocktails

If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own

Give your pet its own quiet space to retreat to — complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.



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