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Pet Safety For The Holidays

As the holidays are fast approaching, there is a great deal of rush and excitement in the air.

During this time, pets will have access to certain foods, decorations and plants that could be harmful to them and even deadly. Early Show Contributor Debbye Turner says it is important to pay close attention to your pets in the coming weeks.

Just like people, pets love occasional treats. But the truth is, most of traditional holiday foods are too rich and too spicy for them. Turner suggest that owners not give pets any of Thanksgiving dinner, especially if they don't get table scraps during the rest of the year. Overfeeding dogs and cats, or giving them spicy or fatty foods, can trigger a very unpleasant bout of diarrhea.

Never give your pet chicken or turkey bones. These bones break into very sharp pieces or splinters, which can cause extensive damage to the stomach and GI tract after swallowed. Sometimes a bone can even puncture the small intestines, creating a life-threatening or fatal situation. Ham bones can also get stuck in the throat, stomach or intestines.

Chocolate is a big no-no for dogs. With all the candies, treats, and desserts around, it will be tempting to sneak a little to man's best friend. But don't! It can kill him. Half an ounce of baker's chocolate per pound of body weight can be toxic to dogs.

The netting from the turkey is mighty tasty for pets. But, the swallowed string can cause a surgical emergency. It can get lodged or tangled in the intestine and cause great pain, even death.

Trimming the Christmas tree is a day-after-Thanksgiving tradition for many families. But beware, because the ornaments and decorations can be hazardous to cats and dogs. The shiny tinsel is quite attractive to cats. They like to chew on it. The problem is it can get lodged or tangled in the intestine and cause great pain, even death. Broken ornaments can cut sensitive paws. And if you add aspirin, sugar or commercial preservative to the tree water, these can be irritating to the pet's stomach if ingested.

Puppies and kittens may love to chew on everything. So keep the electrical cords from the holiday lights out of reach. If your pet chews through the wire, they can be severely electrocuted.

There are many household plants that are toxic to pets. Poinsettias are reputed to be deadly. While a little nibble might not kill your cat, it can cause stomach upset and vomiting. Holly and mistletoe can also cause problems.

In addition to all this, the holidays are a busy time with lots of visitors. It is important to keep a close eye on your pets to make sure that they don't escape out the door while people are coming in and out of your house. If you have a cat or dog that is easily frightened, it is best to put them in their favorite room (that won't be used much) and close the door, so that they feel safe and secure. This is a good idea for overly rambunctious or aggressive dogs.