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As pet owners we are all busy with one thing or another, so once in a while we need some subtle reminders about ways to keep our pets safe. Each season has one thing or another to be on the lookout for so Fido remains healthy and happy.

Take for instance ice over ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Although our temperatures are plummeting in the Midwest, the ice is still relatively new thus it may or may not support the weight of your pooch. Take care not to allow your dog on the ice as they may fall through. Make certain that you watch your dog if they have freedom to roam on your property around such conditions as they may become distracted and run onto the ice when you are not looking; test the ice first before allowing your pet to wander out onto it. Saviors like the Coast Guard may or may not be available for a quick rescue!

This time of year when the Poinsettias, Holly and Mistletoe come out, they should be placed well out of the way of your canine for canines have the tendency to investigate – and chew – anything that is new to them and these plants can be deadly! Of course there are the constants like chocolate, grapes and even wheat for some dogs. Again, these delicious things should be placed well out of the way of sniffing fanatics like your pooch who would love to take a big bite out of a chocolate Santa, not realizing the harm it can cause them!

We have all heard about all of these common things, but there is also a new thing to watch out for with your pooch; an item many of us did not realize could be another thing posing deadly harm to our beloved four-legged friends. The item is Xylitol and it is a sugar substitute found in many items that could be present during this holiday season.

First and foremost, Xylitol may be used in sugar-free cookies, candies, puddings, baked goods, mints and chewing gum – all which may fill a person’s stocking for Christmas. However, Xylitol may also be present in certain types of chewable vitamins, toothpastes and throat lozenges – which are most certainly used by many households during the cold and flu season! Who would think that these simple everyday items could cause harm, even death, to a dog?

Nan Talleno, CBS Philadelphia reported the following: According to the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the effects of xylitol ingestion in dogs are quick and the window of opportunity to aid is small. Within thirty minutes or less of a dog’s ingestion of just a small amount of xylitol, a dramatic drop in blood sugar can result. Just two or three sticks of gum can be toxic to a twenty pound dog. The dog can quickly become lethargic and excessively weak, develop seizures, hemorrhaging and suffer liver failure.

The Animal Poison Control Center of the ASPCA cautions that although your dog may not exhibit these symptoms right away, it doesn’t mean that he won’t be affected. Call your vet immediately. To avoid any problems, keep these products safely away from your dog at all times.

The hope is by reporting and repeating some of this information that more dogs will be safer than sorrier. Protect your pooch by remembering to keep things that can harm them safely out of reach! It is hard to always be present, but take precautions when you won’t be right there all the time.

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