Pet safety tips for the holidays

Over-excited children, swathes of chewable ribbons and crumpled wrapping paper, hugs and kisses from complete strangers over the holidays, can add up to be very stressful for pets, especially if the pet is a new family member.

Mikel Oswalt, DVM, Mercer Island, owner of Home Pet Vet, recommends several options for keeping your pet healthy and calm over the holidays.

She recommends "crate time," a quiet, private place where the animal can retreat from the busy holiday activities. Avoid feeding your pet table scraps. Dogs may love the rich taste of people food, but their stomachs typically do not tolerate it. Keep a supply of treats in the house to avoid unexpected vomiting or diarrhea in your pet. The same applies for loose ribbons and wrapping paper.

For cats, the Christmas tree is ever so tempting. The most dangerous item on the tree is tinsel. The cost of surgically removing tinsel from the cat's stomach is one you should avoid, so keep the tinsel off the tree or the cat away from the tree.

Oswalt also wants people to know that chocolate is poisonous to both dogs and cats. Their digestive systems cannot break it down, so even the smallest piece can cause vomiting and restlessness in pets.

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