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Make a List, Check it Twice -- and, Donít Forget Your Pets
by: ARA
(ARA) - Holidays are a special time for friends and family. Since pets are a part of the family too, make sure your holiday is pet friendly. Here are some helpful tips from Jill Richardson, D.V.M, one of the pet pros at Hartz, a leader in the pet products industry.

Avoid Holiday Hazards

As you get your house ready for the holidays, keep your pets in mind. There are some holiday items that could be very dangerous for your pet.

* Mistletoe or holly can be harmful if ingested by your pet. Keep these plants out of your petís reach.

* Lilies are often used in holiday arrangements and bouquets, but they can be very dangerous for your cat. Certain types of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats, even in small amounts.

* Make your holiday decorations pet safe. Avoid glass ornaments, which can break and cut tiny paws.

* Dangling electrical cords can be enticing to curious pets, especially rabbits, kittens, and puppies. If electrical cords are chewed, they could electrocute your pet. Make sure to keep cords out of your petís reach.

* Keep batteries out of your petís reach. Batteries contain caustic material and if ingested, can cause chemical burns on the tongue, mouth, muzzle, and stomach of your pet.

Keep a Pet Friendly Kitchen

Pet owners may be tempted to give table scraps from holiday meals to their pets as a special treat. There are some types of people foods that can make pets very sick.

* Excessively rich or fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis (inflammatory disease of the pancreas) in pets.

* Chocolate can cause increased heart rate, tremors, or excitation, depending on the type and the quantity ingested.

* Ingestion of uncooked bread dough can be life-threatening. The animalís body heat will cause the dough to rise in the stomach. Alcohol is produced during the rising process, and the dough may expand several times its original size.

* Some types of grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs when eaten in quantity. The basis for kidney failure following consumption of grapes or raisins is unclear, but this is being studied closely in the veterinary community.

* Other potentially dangerous food items for pets include moldy or spoiled foods, coffee grounds, onions, alcoholic beverages, macadamia nuts (dogs), and avocado (birds).

* Keep your pet birds safe from kitchen hazards too. Birds are extremely sensitive to any strong odor or smoke. Smoke from burning foods or overheated polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated cookware can be deadly for birds.

Keep your Guests on a Leash

Have a plan for your pets when you host a holiday party. Unfamiliar guests can make some pets very nervous. If your pet does not do well with crowds and loud noise, make sure you set aside a safe and quiet haven for it to retreat to, if necessary. Make sure to bring your pet fresh water, food, toys, litter box, and pet bed so your pet can relax during the party. Toys offer a multitude of activities for pets and will help to reduce anxiety and relieve boredom.

Remember your pet or your favorite pet lover during the holidays

This year, donít forget to be sure you have the perfect gift for your favorite pet. Remember the four ďFĒs: Food (rawhide, bones, natural treats), Fashion (fashionable collars or leashes), Fitness (balls, plush toys, catnip, interactive toys), and Fun (seasonally inspired toys and treats).

For animal lovers without pets of their own, consider making a donation to a local shelter or animal rescue association in their name. Helping a homeless pet is a wonderful way to celebrate friendship.

For more information on pets and the holidays and pet gift ideas, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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