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      Winter tips for pets

      Christmas time is a season of celebration, but one part of the family, pets, can encounter some Christmas hazards along the way.

      Experts say you should keep pets away from glass ornaments, and keep cats away from tinsel on the Christmas tree. Vets also recommend keeping cats and dogs away from chocolate, which may cause hyper-excitability. Anything high fat, like ham, can trigger pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.

      Another thing vets say they should stay away from is electrical cords. Dr. Marlene Mackie, owner of the Escanaba Veterinary Clinic, says if pets bite the cords, they can get an electrical shock. Other tips vets recommend are to keep pets away from the table and unattended Christmas food. Also, keep an eye on those Christmas presents intended for humans.

      â??I had a dog come in that had eaten half of a baseball glove,â?? explains Dr. Mackie. â??That can create an obstruction. You really have to be mindful of what you're putting underneath your tree, even in the wrapped version, because pets can smell it."

      Pit bull mix, Ocho, always goes out with a sweater and booties when he walks in the snow.

      â??Since he has the short hair, he gets really cold outside,â?? explains his owner, Erin Tucker. â??So he starts shaking and won't go for as long walks, even though he likes walks and has lots of energy."

      Tucker says she does keep a watchful eye on him when he goes back in and sees the presents, even if theyâ??re not all for him.

      â??He likes stuffed animals, so we definitely have to keep him away from that and watch him when he's around stuffed animals," Tucker says.

      Taking a few steps of precaution will ensure that every member of the family enjoys a safe winter this year.