Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday pet tips from Berkeley Humane

Share the spirit of the season with your pets while keeping them safe from some of the holidays’ unique nuisances.

Holidays feasts are for people, not pets.

Protect the dinner table from pet invasions! The butternut squash in your stuffing might be reasonably nutritious for your dog but the garlic is not. Familiarize yourself with some common foods that are harmful to pets.

Photo by Oliver Siodmak
That’s not to say you can’t make mealtime special:
  • Treat pets to a special can of wet food. 
  • Hide kibble under plastic cups for your dog to nose out. 
  • If you trust your animal, serve their dinner off the good china! 
  • Try out some new kinds of treats (but offer them in moderation to present stomach upsets). 
  • Keep serving your normal pet food, too. The routine will be comforting. 
  • Avoid the urge to overfeed. Overeating can be as unpleasant for pets as for people.

Yes, even the bones.

Leftover bones are not safe for animals. Cooked bones can splinter, causing major digestive damage. Raw bones can carry bacteria like salmonella.

Try a pet-safe bone from the pet store instead.

Even outgoing animals might need time away from crowds.

Photo by Leonardo DaSilva
The holidays go hand in hand with large gatherings (probably because few people can finish a roast turkey by themselves).

Whether your animal thrives on attention or eschews gatherings, it's smart to set aside a quiet place for them to regroup. Ensure your cats have access to hiding places like closets and under beds. Dogs can benefit from a quiet room or a towel over their crate. Place small bowls of food and water nearby so shy animals don't have to venture far.

We highly recommend arranging this space inside so your pets can stay warm and dry.

Fearful or allergic guests deserve an animal-free space.

Photo by Deb
As animal lovers, it can seem incomprehensible when someone fails to appreciate our pets like we do.

But the holidays are a great time to practice kindness, and the kindest thing to do for a fearful guest is to secure the animal in another room.

Animals pick up on stress, so giving them private space away from someone who is fearful and nervous is not only kind to the human, but to the animal as well.

Make it up to your pet later with extra treats and snuggles.

Plan ahead for travel.

Are planes, trains, and automobiles in your future this season?
Photo by Neil Howard

  • Many people recommend soothing pheromones (available as sprays and wipes) in the pet carrier.
  • Line the crate with towels, blankets, or clothes that smell like home.
  • Don't vary your pet's diet if you can help it-- familiarity is beneficial.
  • Disposable litter boxes ease hotel stops along the way if you're traveling with cats.
  • Remember to contact your airline about flight arrangements. Driving? Look online for pet-friendly hotels.

Your vet may have additional recommendations for reducing your pet's stress while traveling.

Keep an eye on ornaments, candles, and other attractive dangers.

Photo by Sarah Queller
Cats love Christmas trees. Bark to scratch! Branches to climb! Decorations to chase!

Hang glass ornaments in a way that reduces the chance of breakage (that may mean hanging them low over carpet, securing them with twine or zip ties, or saving them for another year).

Other nuisances include tinsel and ribbons — swallowing these can result in serious problems.

Make sure to place candles out of reach. Animals and open flames don’t mix.

Choose a pet as a family — not as a surprise.

We’ve all gotten a little teary-eyed at videos of people opening a present to find a new puppy or kitten inside. But the best way to ensure that a new pet will suit your home and everyone in it is to meet adoptable animals together.

In fact, Berkeley Humane’s policy is that all members of a household must be present to meet an animal and confirm that it’s the right fit for the home. Come visit us Friday through Sunday from 11AM to 5PM.

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