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Happy Holidays for Pets


Special to Today’s News-HeraldBy Jenny Anderson

Like it or not, the holiday season is now in full swing.  This is an especially busy time, therefore the last thing we want is an emergency with our companion animals.  Thus, it’s best we plan ahead to proactively avoid dangerous situation.

Let’s start with holiday decorations.  The glittery strands of lights, tinsel, ribbon, and other décor can be very enticing, especially to a youngster.  Puppies and kittens need close supervision—think of them like toddlers, exploring their world. .   Cats and young dogs are especially prone to choking hazards and bowl obstructions caused by ingesting a string or ribbon.  Tinsel, dangling cords, and low-hanging lights or ornaments are just too tempting.  Burning candles are a fire hazard for both pets and children.  Keep dangerous objects and cords out of the way.

Some of the special holiday foods we enjoy are not meant for animals.  Instances of pancreatitis when animals ingest unsuitable foods, especially extremely rich foods, increase during the holidays. People food scraps should not be shared.   The sweet, starchy, and fat-filled holiday recipes do not digest well and some may even be poisonous to animals.  Many a small dog has had to have an emergency veterinary visit after ingesting chocolate, dried fruits, gravy or other rich foods.  Pancreatitis is no laughing matter and can be deadly. A costly emergency veterinary visit can be avoided if we keep these foods away from pets.

We should also recognize the impact of holiday stress on companion animals.  The increased amount of social activity and holiday preparations can be stressful for pets as well as people.  Our companion animals are sensitive and our stress may affect them, too. There are holiday parties with additional people coming and going; a dog or cat may feel neglected while all this activity takes place.   If your animal does become anxious, make appropriate accommodations which can help calm him.   Your cats and dogs may need to stay in a quiet area where they feel safe and out of the mainstream holiday frenzy.

Please, however, don’t shut them out when you are busy.  Be sure to include the four-legged family members whenever possible.  Keep the animal’s well-being and health in mind when making your plans.  Include them in your activities when possible, and hopefully you’ll have one of the best-ever holiday seasons!

The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. For found or lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at


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