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Pets: Potpourri dangerous for birds

Q: My girlfriend told me that potpourri is dangerous for my dog and my two cats to smell. Is this true? – C.C., Hartford, Conn.

A: Especially at this time of year, people seek various scents wafting through their homes. Some scents, like lavender, ease tension. Other scents, like gingerbread, smell good without the calories.

Since the sense of smell of dogs and cats is far more advanced than in people, we don’t know exactly what the pets perceive. Might too much of that gingerbread bread smell simply give a pet a headache? We don’t know. We do know that there’s nothing dangerous about these scents to dogs and cats.

However, pet birds are another story. Their respiratory systems are so sensitive that potpourri scents may be life threatening. Never use potpourri in a home with pet birds, it’s not worth the significant risk.

Another risk is for a pet actually ingesting the potpourri crystals or solution, which is indeed potentially very dangerous.

So, in the end, the safest way for your house to smell like gingerbread is to bake gingerbread cookies. And save some for me.

If you do have an odor issue, Fresh Wave products eradicate odors (more than merely masking them) and happen to be safe to all pets, birds included.

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Q: I was thinking about flying reindeer. Of course, I don’t believe they fly. But I was wondering, does any other animal fly – aside from birds? – P. P., Little Rock, Ark.

A: Bats fly, of course, and bats are mammals. There are several species that glide, such as flying squirrels or sugar gliders.

As for your belief regarding reindeer, have you ever seen “Miracle on 34th Street?” Maybe Santa does exist. And if so, I bet flying reindeer do, too.

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Q: Do you think Santa Claus should have sled dogs instead of reindeer? – C.A., 8, Tacoma, Wash.

A: I think your idea is fascinating. But I’d hate to see unemployed flying reindeer. After all, they’ve been employed by Santa for a long time now. Besides, reindeer might be better at landing on roofs than sled dogs, and they’re quieter. Dogs might bark. The idea, as I understand it, is for Santa to arrive without waking up all the little boys and girls.

Q: My cat is interested in the tinsel from the tree. Do you have any thoughts? – C.G., Brooklyn

A: Yes! Take the tinsel off the tree! Please. At best, you may see the tree topple to the floor as the cat pulls on the irresistible tinsel. At worst, your cat may eat some tinsel.

At some point in their career, most veterinarians have performed emergency surgery because tinsel has caused an obstruction in a cat (or puppy).

This one is easy to answer: Don’t use tinsel!

Q: Should I allow my cat to sip on eggnog? I figure, there’s lots of protein and my cat likes milk, anyway. – S.H., Minneola, Fla.

A: I’m not sure where the tradition of feeding cats milk began, but believe it or not, some cats are lactose intolerant.

And, of course, eggnog contains milk.

Many cats can tolerate milk just fine, and I suppose occasionally lapping up just a little (2 percent or skim) milk once in a while isn’t so bad.

But eggnog? Most store bought eggnog is loaded with sugar. Yes, eggnog does have protein – but there are far better sources of protein than eggnog.

I say give your kitty an alternative that’s sugar-free and nearly calorie-free: catnip. Your feline friend will be forever pouncing with joy.

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Q: Do you have a favorite catnip? – S.H., Berwyn, Ill.

A: I rarely use catnip myself. And there are countless terrific catnip brands out there.

Still, since you asked, Dr. Meowsky’s Medical Grade Catnip is a favorite.

It’s organic, gluten-free (not that gluten-free really matters), and likely approved by Cheech and Chong. It’s also legally homegrown in the USA.

The “cat cannabis” is from barkerandmeowsky.com; $9.95 per 1-ounce jar.

email: petworld@steve dale.tv