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    Winter Holiday DOG Safety Tips 

    One - the first rule....don't buy a puppy because you think it will be cute for a gift. Be prepared for the responsibility of caring for another very precious being. Just because you saw a cute movie or toy is no reason to take on the responsibility. This is particularly true for pets that can become very large and difficult to control. Dogs need training, it is your responsibility!

    Alcohol (and Chocolate)- Sometimes it seems funny to let our dog drink alcoholic beverages or share the candy. Don't do it. The reasons are much like why people shouldn't drink excessively. Your dog can have a reaction, have an injury as a result, be sick or worse. Besides alcoholic beverages, watch out for isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or windshield washer fluid which can cause great damage or kill your best friend. Don't leave these around. The Cocoa in chocolate can be poisonous in large amounts...Alcohol can also be poisonous.

    Aluminum Foil when ingested can cause internal bleeding, and in some cases, even death.

    Christmas Trees and Gifts can result in a very ill pet. The tree and ornaments may be attractive items that your little companion may decide to try to chew or eat. When ingested , tinsel may cause obstruction of the intestines and cut the intestines. Symptoms may include: decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness and weight loss. Treatment usually requires surgery. There have been some very creative ideas on avoiding this type of problem. The idea is to make sure you have made this area off limits. Put up a barricade, put items where they can't be reached. One possibility that has been used in our house is to use the same "electric fence" that is used outdoors. This uses a special wire and a collar that has a beep followed by a mild shock if the dog remains or continues entering the area. Available at many hardware or even some department stores. Sounds cruel, not really and it may save your dog's life. If you can't handle this, then don't have a tree or find some way to keep your dog away from the tree. Remember Christmas tree lights and electrical cords can be fatal if chewed on by a dog (or cat). Whenever possible, keep electrical cords out of reach (but they will not get near the "electric fence"). Other suggestions include: Don't put edible ornaments on the tree (they attract your pet), avoid glass (causes cuts), avoid small toys that pooch may swallow, watch out for electrical cords (chewing can cause shock), avoid tinsel (can block intestinal tract). Santa recently wrote me and said: "We make a lot of our own decorations for the trees out of natural materials so that the animals can be safe. Bit for some reason every time we make strings of popcorn, it does not last very long. I wonder why that is?" But remember, your puppy can choke on the string that ties together the popcorn, so..put it up high on the tree.

    Christmas Stress - Yes dogs can get this too. If they are not used to all the company or small kids, provide some place they can go to relax.

    Plants like Poinsettia and Holly or Mistletoe and amaryllis can poison your loved one. Keep them out of reach. Veterinary treatment should be immediate if poisoning is suspected. A good list is found at The poisonous plants.

    Toys...more info
    A stuffed toy can result in serious problems if not made specifically for your pet. Small objects (such as buttons or pins, metal) can be swallowed or cut your dog's mouth. Even some toys made for puppies can be too small to be used safely. If it's small enough to be swallowed by a pup, it might get swallowed. Beware of objects with rattles or balls inside, if your dog is a chewer. Ingesting such items may create stomach upset or worse.

    The best games involve tennis balls, Frisbees or any other object that your dog can retrieve. It teaches the dog to return to you. These also are available in materials just for your little (or big) buddy.

    Hollow bones -- the kind purchased at a pet store, not from your pot roast at home -- are great for satisfying a dog's need to chew. Also bleached special bones made of synthetic or hard plastic and rubber objects can serve the same function. Discard the toy if your dog succeeds in biting off pieces.