President and CEO, The Humane Society of The United States
As the holidays approach and the weather gets colder, don’t forget about our four-legged friends. Here are some ways to help animals and pets this season.
Pet-proof your holiday
- Plan ahead: Many of the things that make the holidays special may pose hazards for pets. Plan for your pets’ comfort and safety during large gatherings by providing pets with a quiet space so they don’t become overwhelmed by the excitement. Keep holiday decorations out of reach, as many seasonal plants and décor can pose health threats to your pet.
- Traveling with your pet? Make sure their tags and microchip are up to date in case they become lost.
- Sharing isn’t always caring. As you enjoy candy and other treats, refrain from sharing with pets. Chocolate can be hazardous, as is xylitol, a common sweetener. Table scraps, especially bones, can splinter and cause serious health problems including death.
Adopt, don’t shop
- Thinking about adding a pet to your family? Start with a shelter or rescue.Wonderful pets of all kinds are waiting in shelters for a home to call their own. Most animals lose their homes and end up in shelters due to no fault of their own, and shelter pets normally come with all their shots, and are often spayed or neutered.
- Pets are fine to give as gifts, provided you know the recipient of your furry present wants a pet and is ready for the commitment required. You can give them a certificate for the adoption fee at the shelter of their choice or turn the selection process into a fun and educational activity by utilizing shelter pet adoption sites to search through thousands of adoptable pets online. If they’re not ready for a pet, sponsor a pet at your local shelter in their honor as a unique gift!
Cold weather safety for pets
- If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet. Restrict outdoor time when the weather is inclement. No pet should ever be left outside for long periods of time in freezing weather.
- Speak out for the voiceless. Program the number of your local animal care and control into your phone. If you see a pet left out in the cold, call them to make a report.
- Protect pets from cold-related dangers.Rock salt, anti-freeze, and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice are often toxic and can irritate the pads of your pets’ feet, so be sure to wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them. When using anti-freeze in your car, make sure to clean up any spills. Even the tiniest amount is toxic to both pets and wildlife, and the sweet smell can attract them.
- Check before you drive. Cats and wildlife will take advantage of a warm car engine in winter and may still be under your car’s hood hours later. Bang on the hood to scare them off before starting your car.
- Give wildlife a helping hand: Provide wildlife with a clean, unfrozen water source. Not only will it help them, but you’ll also see some cute visitors in your garden.
Find out more information, follow @HSUSKittyBlock on Twitter and visit The Humane Society of the United States’ blog