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Our holiday favorites dangerous for pets

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They may not exactly look delicious to you, but some of our most loved holiday plants can look pretty tasty to our pets. Poinsettas, mistletoe and holly are seasonal plants that are toxic to pets.

"If it is a plant that wasn't there the day before, you can bet, they will immediatly go and investigate today. So keeping plants out of the range of your pets is very important, " says Dr. Joe Hendricks of Briarwood Veterinary in Grand Blanc, MI.

Eveh the beloved family Christmas tree, can be especially fascinating, says Dr. Joe

"Tinsel should not be in a house with a cat. Cats will eat it and it becomes a foreign intestinal body, " Dr. Joe adds, "A thing that we see is a lot of is cats playing with ribbons off of the packages. "

The big problem with this odd choice in snacks, is that ribbon, tinsel, and other decorations can cause a bowel blockage, which can be deadly. Dogs are also known to indulge in Christmas decor.

Even the stuff that is technically edible, can be a hazard to pets. Chocolate, nuts, grapes, and raisins, are in ample supply this time of year. They are each highly toxic to pets. While there are pets who can eat these foods with impunity, don't take the chance if you are not sure how your pet will react.

"Be careful with the goodies alltogether," Dr. Joe cautions. "It's just never a good ideda to feed off the table any way, but especially this time of year."

But it can be really hard to resist the pleading eyes of a pet, especially if they are begging for something that we usually only have once a year. The good news is, now there are plenty of awesome choices available now, so you can throw a pet party that is sure to dissuade the most ardent beggars.

At PetSmart in Flint Township, we found everything, from h'ors dervs, to cookies and other treats. There also stock special holiday meal mixes that are "just add hot water", along with canned pumpkin puree, among other very human foods.

"It's just a better alternative than giving them your food," says Rhonda McGraw, the store's display manager. "Sometimes if you give a dog your food, it can give them a loose stool. It can make them just a little bit sick and it's not always safe for them."

If you ask a Toldo dog, they will tell you, no holiday would be complete without super fun bones and/or rawhides. Another word of caution: Never let your pet eat an entire large treat like this in one sitting, or even in one day. Their brains may think it's safe, but their tummies simply cannot take it.

Rhonda says, "Just take it away, and when he's good again, or just needs a little love, get it back out."

Pet parents should also keep a close eye out when pets are enjoying these treats, Rhonda says, " One thing I tell people is rawhide is like a toddler wtih a sucker. You want to watch, and carefully watch. It's not something you want to leave them with, becasue it is a choking hazard.

One more cautionary note about common household items this time of year, be extra careful with antifreeze. It is notoriously sweet, and highly toxic for pets. In fact, Dr. Joe tells me, even a lick or very slight exposure can have devastating, even deadly, consequences. Clean up any spills thoroughly, and store far, far away from pets' reach.

If you are in doubt about anything around your house, check with your vet. If your pet is acting strangely- drunk, listless, vomitting and/or having diarrhea, seek emergency care immediately.

You can also contact poison control, if you fear your pet has gotten into something they shouldn't have. You have two options. You can call the human poison control center at (800) 222-1222. There is also a hotline specifically for animals, (855)764-7661. There is a charge for the pet-specific line of $49, per incident.

For more information about plants and foods that are toxic to pets, click this link to the pet poison hotline website.

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