HELOISE Extra care is needed with pets during holidays

Dear Readers: During the holiday season, there are extra precautions to take with your pets, especially at dinnertime. It's tempting to give treats from the table, but don't! Stick to their normal diet -- people food can cause vomiting, diarrhea and indigestion.
Most everyone loves chocolate, but beware with pets in the house. Chocolate contains theobromine (closely related to caffeine), and when taken in large quantities it can be fatal to dogs, especially small dogs. Even a small amount of baking chocolate is especially toxic, so keep it away from your pet.
Also, during the holidays, we tend to put pretty plants around the house, but be careful: Amaryllis, holly and mistletoe should be kept away from pets -- they are poisonous.
Last, but not least: The holidays are a time for lots of friends and family visiting, but if you have a pet that is frightened of people and noise, this is a scary time for it. Find a quiet room for it and put on some soothing music or the TV to help block out party noise. Keep its food, water and litter box (if it's a cat) nearby. Everyone, including pets, will have a wonderful holiday. Heloise
P.S. Cabbie, our miniature schnauzer, does look at us pleadingly with those big, soft brown eyes! But she gets only real dog treats.
Also, if you have houseguests, inform them that your animals do not eat human food -- it's the healthiest thing for your friend. Heloise
Dear Readers: Belinda and Grant Beairsto of Kensington, Prince Edward Island, sent a photo of their adorable 9-month-old puppy, Tubby, with a pacifier in her mouth. Tubby found it on one of their walks and dragged it home. Belinda couldn't wait to get home and take a photo of her. Everyone had a good chuckle over it.
Visit my Web site, www.Helois-e.com, and click on This Week's Pet to see cute little Tubby. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I've heard it's dangerous for cats to wear collars. My cat, Toby, loves to chase birds, and having a collar with a bell attached might warn them when he is sneaking up. Also, I want to attach his ID tag to it.
Is it true that if they climb trees, the collar could catch on a branch? Is there any type of collar I can use for him that would be safe? Karen L., Via E-mail
Yes, it is true that with a regular leather or material collar, a cat can get caught, but there are collars that are perfect for cats -- they have an elastic insert. In case it snags on something, the cat can pull free. Actually, if you want to make your own, all you need is 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch elastic. Measure Toby's neck. The elastic should be tight enough to stay on and when pulling on it should slip off easily. Heloise
Planning on going away and having someone take care of your pets? Make it easy for the person to care for each one of your pets. Color-code items, using a different color for each pet. Just pick up some colored stickers and stick them to their collars, bowls, medicine-bottle tops, etc. If they have different diets, it certainly helps to put the stickers on their dry-food bags or cans. Sure makes it easy. Heloise
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate

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