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Pets

Here are ways to keep your pets safe for the holidays:

1. Limit table scraps. Even big pets are commonly treated for everything from minor tummy upset to pancreatitis on Christmas Day.

2. Some holiday treats can be dangerous. Remember that chocolate is toxic to pets. Avocado is hazardous to birds. Pets can choke on chicken or turkey bones.

3. Candles. Those tall, glittering tapers can easily be knocked over by playful dogs and curious cats. Fumes from scented candles can be very dangerous for pet birds.

4. Avoid prickly christmas trees. Consider a tree with soft, pet-friendly needles, such as a Douglas fir or white pine.

5. Clean up tree needles. Puppies and kittens may munch on errant needles, causing choking or stomach upset.

6. Don't add chemical preservatives to the water in your tree stand if pets can sip from the solution.

7. House guests. The constant flow of new people may terrify pets who prefer peace and quiet. Such pets might be happier secluded in a room with Christmas carols playing in the background. With the front door opening and closing so often, dogs and indoor cats can slip out.

8. Holiday plants can be hazardous. In truth, poinsettias are generally not poisonous. Fresh holly and mistletoe are toxic, particularly the berries. Cats can also be attracted to amaryllis lilies and red azaleas -- both potentially dangerous.

9. Tinsel or Christmas ribbons in the tummy can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction that could be life-threatening.

10. If you have cats, skip glass ornaments on the tree. Find a cat-proof place where you can show them off safely.

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