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Tips to keep your pets safe, healthy this holiday season

by Mario Gomez / 11 News

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 6:22 PM

HOUSTON—They come in all breeds and sizes, and for six years, Dr. Jeff Chalkley has seen them all at the Westbury Animal Clinic.

But as the holiday season approaches, Dr Chalkley’s patients start coming in with different symptoms.

"Vomiting and diarrhea, that’s sort of their shock organ, so that’s the first thing that will clue you in to a problem," said Dr .Chalkley. "The most common thing during the holidays is dietary indiscretion. Dogs and cats get into things they shouldn’t have."

For example, your freshly cut tree’s stand can turn into a toxic water bowl, especially if you add fertilizer to the water.

And those bright lights and electrical cords can turn into a shock hazard if your dog or cat chews them.

Your cat might think your tree trimmings are play toys, so a good rule of thumb is: if it looks like something your pet likes to play with, move it up a little higher.

If you’re thinking about giving somebody a pet as a Christmas gift, the Houston SPCA says don’t do it lightly.

"A pet is a huge responsibility and you never give a live animal to anyone, even your child, unless the whole family comes down and picks the pet together," said Meera Nandlal, Houston SPCA.

And if you share your Christmas dinner with your dog, be careful.

"Food is love. You don’t want to deny Fluffy the chance to have a little bit. Just make sure it doesn’t have seasoning and it’s in small amounts," advises Dr Chalkley.

The vet’s best advice is to slip your pet an animal treat for all the affection they’ve given you all year.