The Star-Herald

Pets and the holidays

As the holidays come closer, folks are thinking about what Santa will be bringing children this year. People think of kittens and puppies to give as gifts. But first: Think. This is a lifetime commitment to that pet.

The cost of food, supplies, vet appointments, spay/neuter training and time involved must all be considered.  Please make sure this is well thought through, so you can enjoy your new family member for years to come.

For those of you who do have furry family members, holidays can be a stressful time for pets, especially with a house full of new people, sounds and smells. 

Here are some tips for making the holidays more peaceful and safe for your pup:

  1. Set your pup up in a separate area of the house that will be quiet, comfortable and free from chaos.
  2. Exercise your pup before guests arrive.
  3. Keep garbage covered and out of reach.
  4. Cover and keep foods away from the edges of counter tops and tables.
  5. Tell your guests up-front the house rules for feeding your pup table scraps or people foods.
  6. Remember to never give your pup cooked meat bones—they can become soft or brittle and lead to choking, or worse—an intestinal blockage.

If your pup does get to eat people food, keep in mind that the following common foods can be dangerous or possibly even deadly to your furry friend: alcoholic beverages, artificial sweeteners, avocados, chocolate, coffee, corn on the cob, garlic, grapes and raisins, onions and chives, macadamia nuts, persimmons, peaches or plums, yeast or raw bread dough that contains yeast.

Don’t forget that the popular decorative plants like holly, mistletoe and the poinsettia can be poisonous if ingested.  English and Asian varieties of the holly plant contain toxic saponins, which can cause serious gastrointestinal distress when eaten.

Christmas bouquets and floral arrangements that contain lilies are very hazardous to pets, especially cats. All it takes is a few bites of a lily plant to cause potentially fatal kidney failure in felines.  Cautious pet owners should probably steer clear of including these beautiful but dangerous plants in their Christmas décor.

Please consider making room in your heart and home for one of the animals available at the Central Aroostook Humane Society’s animal shelter.  Due to COVID-19 we are still closed to the public, but please contact us to set up an appointment. Check us out on Facebook to see some of the available pets that are up for adoption. 

Please remember to be responsible pet owners — spay and neuter.  Stay safe, everyone.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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