Pets and the holiday season

  • Dec. 12, 2008 6:00 a.m.

Submitted by the BC SPCA–The BC SPCA reminds pet owners to take special care to keep their animals healthy and happy during the upcoming holiday season.”There are particular hazards for animals around the Christmas season and we urge people to pay extra attention to their pet’s safety,” said Lorie Chortyk, of the BC SPCA. The SPCA encourages pet owners to take the following precautions this holiday season:o Keep pets away from tinsel, ribbons, ornaments, and other decorations that can cause choking or internal injuries;o Place electrical cords out of the reach of your pet. Chewing on cords can result in serious shock and burns;o Many Christmas plants, and the chemicals mixed into water to extend the life of your Christmas tree, can cause injury and even death if ingested by your pet;o Keep candy, particularly chocolate, out of the reach of your pets. Chocolate contains an ingredient that can be extremely toxic to animals;o Make sure your animals are kept away from all winter chemicals, including antifreeze. Thoroughly flush with water any area where chemicals have spilled and ask your mechanic to use pet-safe propylene glycol antifreeze in your car;o Bang the hood of your car several times before starting the engine to alert any cats or other small animals that may have crawled inside for warmth;o Make sure your pet has a warm, dry place to sleep. Dogs and cats are best kept indoors during cold weather. If you must leave your animal outside, make sure the animal is protected from the elements and check your pet’s water bowl regularly to ensure it hasn’t frozen over.o Outdoor dogs need more calories in the winter to produce body heat, so increase your outdoor pet’s food. Indoor pets, on the other hand, may get less exercise during the cold months, and will need fewer calories in order to maintain a healthy weight.”We would also like to remind people that while many animals need homes during the holiday season, it is best not to surprise anyone, particularly children, with a pet at Christmas,” says Ms Chortyk. “Proper guardianship of a pet is a long-term commitment and requires time, energy, and financial resources. The decision to bring a pet into your home should be considered carefully to ensure that the family is able and willing to care for the animal for the duration of its life.” Ms Chortyk says puppies and kittens are often dropped off at SPCA shelters in January after the novelty of the Christmas gift has worn off. “While we discourage pets as gifts or impulse purchases, we do have many wonderful animals at the SPCA who would love to be with a new family for Christmas, if adopters have thought through the decision and are ready and able to make the commitment,” says Ms Chortyk. “Animals bring so much joy into our lives and they deserve our best care and attention.” If you are not ready for a pet, but want to help animals in need this holiday season, please visit spca.bc.ca/help to make a donation to help abused and homeless animals in your community or the BC SPCA’s Pawsitive Gifts site (PawsitiveGifts.ca) to make a holiday gift in honour of the animal lovers on your gift list.

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