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Sharing the holidays with our pets

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celebrate with your pets!

Hang a stocking for Fido, and fill it with his special treats. Yes, it's the holiday season, and time to share the celebrations with your pets. Author Anne Watkins tells us how.

Greyhound with Santa HatCelebrate with your pets
The next few months are full of special holidays! Along with the holiday season come parties, family gatherings, feasts, celebrations and gifts. Since our pets are such special parts of our families, it would be fun to include them in our holiday observances. Here are a few ways to safely share the holidays with our pets.

Pet-friendly parties
Let's face it--parties tend to get loud and boisterous. Some of our companion animals may feel a bit uncomfortable with all the noise and extra people in their space. It is a good idea to keep an eye on our pets and remove them to a quiet area if they start to become over-excited or nervous. The sweet gentle dog who would never think of biting someone might snap at a party guest who is forcing the dog to accept attentions he may not want.

And when the cat who is usually such a bundle of love suddenly begins to snarl and slap at guests, she is saying that she has had enough! You might consider leading the animal around the room to greet each guest, and then putting the pet in a quiet room with a few treats _before_ he or she has the chance to feel too stressed.

Some Christmas treats can be toxic to pets
Everyone loves to eat. And those wonderful family feasts during the holidays are hard to resist, for us and for our pets. Supervise any well-meaning guests who try to slip a morsel of food to the dog or cat, or even the bird. There are foods that are dangerous for our pets and unfortunately, some people may not realize how ill they could cause our pets to become.

Make sure that alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine are kept off limits for all pets, and that avocado is not given to any birds. These items can be toxic to our furred and feathered family members!

Creative gift wrap
Giving gifts during the holiday season is a fun and special part of the festivities. There are many cute items on the market for our pets, and they love getting gifts as much as we do! If you decide to wrap your pet's presents, be sure not to use any of the pretty holiday foil gift wrap. A companion animal could become seriously ill if any of the foil paper were to be ingested.

Use plain paper or butcher paper to wrap Fido's or Fluffy's gifts. Then stand back and watch them tear into the treats.

Use candles with caution
If lighting candles is part of your family's traditional celebrations, make sure your pets are kept at a safe distance. Imagine how easy it would be for the cat to knock over a candle stick and start a fire, or for the dog to grab a candle to chew on! And the bird will be tempted to get close to the pretty flame just to see what it is.

Candles are special in so many holiday celebrations. Go ahead and enjoy them...just enjoy them while your pet is safely away in another area of the home.

Making memories
While enjoying all the holiday festivities with your companion animals, don't forget to take lots of pictures. The pets will probably be the only ones not moaning and groaning about how fat they looked. All they'll remember will be how much fun they had!

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