Ask Amy: The gift of a safe holiday for pets

November 30, 2013

Dear Readers: With Christmas just around the corner, many folks are putting up Christmas trees and decorations for the holidays. This can be a dangerous time for dogs and cats. Here are some Heloise hints to keep your CAT OR DOG SAFE:

* Don’t let animals drink the water that the tree is sitting in!

* A real tree can be hazardous. Needles from real trees aren’t digested and may be mildly toxic or could even puncture the intestine.

* If you have a cat, you know how it loves to play! Keep lights and ornaments off the lower branches, where a cat can reach them. If a pet bites the light cord, it can be shocked or its mouth burned. Broken ornaments can cause choking hazards or cuts.

* Keep wrapped gifts with bows or ribbons out of reach for the same reason. Pets may be tempted to chew paper, ribbons or the gift itself.

-- Heloise

PET PAL

Dear Readers: Regina Olsen, via e-mail, sent in a picture of her cat, Stinker, posing for the camera by a vase of flowers. Regina rescued Stinker from the underside of a car and says she is now the queen of the house! To see Stinker’s picture, go to my Web site, www.Heloise.com, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise

P.S.: Readers, do you want to see your pet as the Pet Pal of the week? Send a photo and a short story about your pet to: Heloise/Pet Pal, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or e-mail Heloise@Heloise.com.

HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER

Dear Heloise: I read in your column about a woman having trouble with wasps, bees and ants on her hummingbird feeder. I use a medium to light coat of petroleum jelly all the way around the feeding station, and no more wasps, bees or ants. The petroleum jelly is too sticky for the pests and does not harm or affect the birds. -- A Hummingbird Lover in Texas

This sounds like a good idea, but several different hummingbird societies say NOT to use any petroleum-based products such as baby or cooking oil, as the oil may get into the birds’ feathers. They do recommend that if you are having an ant problem, use a moat or ant guard on the feeder. These, too, are easy solutions! Keep feeding those hummingbirds! -- Heloise

P.S.: Living in San Antonio, a major flyway for hummingbirds, we have some hummers that hang around here during the winter. I’m lucky enough to see these little dive bombers all year long!

ORNAMENT TRADITION

Dear Heloise: When my brother and I were younger, my stepmother started buying us Christmas ornaments each year. They were always beautiful keepsakes that she would find. I saved mine and kept them in a special box. The first year I put up my own Christmas tree, I already had a collection of ornaments for my tree. She still does it, and it has become a tradition that I look forward to. -- J.A. in San Antonio

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

, King Features Syndicate

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