To ensure your furry friends enjoy the holidays, the humane society offers some helpful tips

The holiday season brings joy and festive fun. But for pets, all of the added hustle and bustle can be overwhelming.  

To ensure your furry friends enjoy the holidays too, there are some helpful tips to remember to make for a pet-safe holiday environment.

Melissa Stolz, intake and behaviour coordinator at the Guelph Humane Society, which services much of Wellington County, said its important to make some pet-friendly adjustments at home during the holidays.

“It’s about being mindful when it comes to anything that a dog or cat can ingest, including certain foods, Christmas tree decorations, as well as harmful plants. It might not hurt to place plants up high, keep them out of reach, maybe in a separate room or even consider plastic plants,” Stolz said.

Many popular Christmas plants, such as hyacinths, poinsettias, lilies, holly berries and mistletoe are toxic to pets.

When it comes to food, many traditional treats, including chocolate, xylitol-containing sweets, raisins and grapes can also be harmful.

And traditional holiday decorations, such as lights and tinsel, can also pose a serious risk for pets.

“If you have a new kitten or puppy, they might be more likely to put decorations in their mouths, so it’s important to be mindful of the types of ornaments you use. Stay away from glass ornaments, or put them up higher so your pets can’t reach them. You can even fasten them to the tree more securely so a dog or cat can’t run away with them,” Stolz said.

“As for decorations, it’s best to stay away from items such as tinsel. If ingested, it could be a situation where it might get stuck. Stay away from things things that are light or fun to bat around. The more indestructible something is and won’t break, the more pet-friendly it is.”

The key, Stolz said, is to keep anything questionable out of reach.

And if there is an emergency during the holidays, people should make sure they know what emergency vet clinic they should call and to keep the number handy.

“This is so you know exactly who to call. Maybe if the situation is not life-threatening, a veterinarian can just give you a suggestion over the phone. But if serious, you may potentially have to bring the animal in,” Stolz said.

Holiday situations, such as a party or get together can trigger stress in pets.

“I think this often gets overlooked especially when it comes to our pets. Family and friends get together over the holidays. We don’t necessarily remember or think of how stressful this might be for the animal. Even for social animals, it might be very stressful,” Stolz said.

“Know your animal and how social they are. How are they with strangers and crowds and chaos? If they don’t do well in these situations, make sure they have a quiet safe space that’s off limits. And make sure visitors know to leave the animal alone when they are in that space.”

Even for the social friendly animal who likes to be with people, Stolz said if they want to go to that quiet place, it should still be off limits to visitors.

“And if you are taking your pets with you somewhere, make sure they have a separate space and that people know to leave them alone,” Stolz said.

“If you are travelling with a cat or a dog, be mindful that there is the potential of an escape risk, especially with all of the stress, travel, cats and dogs being in carriers, and doors opening and closing.”

Stolz said to make sure pets are secured, house doors are closed before letting pets out of their carriers, make sure dogs are on leash, and that harnesses and collars are properly fitted.

“The Humane Society does see animals come in as strays over the holidays. We can reduce that by just having people be a bit more mindful and careful when travelling with animals,” Stolz said.

“This might help prevent some of these unfortunate incidents of their pets getting lost, especially during the holiday season.”

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By admin