Holiday tips for pet owners

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December 03, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

The holidays can be an especially dangerous time for pets, with parties, lots of people and possibly lethal plants and foods all around the house. The spirits of the season, as in alcoholic drinks, are also highly dangerous, warns the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Taking a few precautions will help the festive season float by disaster-free. Here are tips:

Ask your guests to put beverages where animals can't reach them. Alcohol can make animals sick, weak and cause a coma.

Keep chocolates in a safe place. Bakers, semi-sweet, milk and dark chocolates are potentially poisonous to many animals. Unsweetened baking chocolate is lethal.

Keep your pets on their regular diet. Changes promote nausea and diarrhea.

Don't give your pets holiday leftovers and make sure you keep them out of the garbage.

Candy and cellophane wrappers can cause intestinal blockages. Beware of ribbons and strings. Tinsel can become a knot in the intestines.

Floral arrangements can also pose hazards.

Mistletoe and holly berries may cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.

For more information on pet safety and preventing poisoning, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. A toll-free hotline, 888-426-4435, is open 24 hours, year-round. On the Web, you'll find it at apcc.aspca.org

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