Think For Your Hunting Dog
This Holiday Season

Stockings hanging on the fireplace mantel. Christmas pageants. Holiday parties. This festive season is family time, but in all the hustle and bustle it's often too easy to forget one important member of your family — your hunting dog.

Here are some tips for creating healthy, safe and happly holidays for your dog.

• Be wary of water — It may help your tree last through Valentine's Day, but don't put chemicals in tree water. If your dog laps up chemically treated water, call your veterinarian immediately.

• Deck the halls with boughs of holly — Don't let your nosy pet get their paws on holiday plants, like holly, amaryllis and mistletoe. If eaten, these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea or other health problems.

• Putting on the pounds — Just because our eating habits change over the holidays, it doesn't mean our pets' should too. Don't slip "people food" under the table. It can upset your pet's digestion by altering the balance of their diet, and help create bad "begging" habits. And never give your pet chocolate. It contains theobromine, a toxic substance that can cause seizures and even death in dogs.

• I double-dog dare ya! — Have you ever been dared to lick a flagpole on a cold winter day? That's what it's like for dogs when they are fed outside with metal dishes. Switch to plastic food and water dishes when the temperature is low, or your pet's tongue may stick and freeze to the dish. Also, avoid dehydration by providing indoor and outdoor pets with extra water during the dry winter months. Check the water for outdoor pets often — don't let it freeze!

• Decorations: beautiful or delicious? — Tinsel, strings of popcorn, lights and candles may look beautiful to you, but to your dog they look yummy and fun to play with! Make sure to place decorations out of reach, or your curious pet may claim them.

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