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Pet Safety a Key Ingredient for Happy Holiday Season

Published December 14, 2011
Winter brings lots of holiday fun, but it also comes with its share of potential dangers for our animal friends. Dr. Kandi Norrell, a primary care veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, offers this "naughty vs. nice" list to help you keep your pets safe this winter.

NAUGHTY (Keep these out of your pet's reach):
Alcohol, antifreeze, breakable ornaments, chocolate, Christmas roses, Christmas tree preservative solution, fatty meats and sauces, garlic, grapes, holly, ivy, lilies, mistletoe, onions, poinsettia, raisins, tinsel, xylitol (artificial sweetener).

* Clean paws! Be sure to wipe their paws after walks to remove all ice melt or safety salt.
* The great indoors. Pets who spend significant time outdoors need heated housing and water sources. They also need extra food since keeping warm burns calories.
* If you feel you must share your feast with your pet, a moderately-sized portion of lean meat makes a safe treat during the holidays.

Visit our Pet Column archives for tips on:
* Winter safety (
* Hazardous substances (
* Potential dangers during holiday gatherings (

Can't get your furry friend to keep those reindeer antlers on long enough to snap a photo for your holiday card? "Picture Your Pet" can help.

With this user-friendly web app from the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, you can create a free holiday e-card featuring your pet's photo. Just upload, add your choice of accessories and you're ready to download, e-mail, or Tweet.

Get started at

And don't forget to share your finished photo on our Facebook page (

The University of Illinois provides care for veterinary emergencies 24/7, including all holidays (