By Aimee Hebert
The “howlidays” are here! What a great opportunity to celebrate with our favorite two- and four-legged friends. To make sure that your time is festive, be sure to practice proper “pet-iquette” with these holiday tips:
Plan ahead. If Fido or Fluffy will accompany you on a trip, prepare a pet-friendly travel kit that includes their customary food, bottled water, any pet medications and a favorite toy or blanket to provide a sense of familiarity. Remember that introducing your fur baby to new people and places can be stressful for you and for them, so go slow and give family members time to get used to each other. Make sure your pet is properly tagged and/or microchipped. If you are separated from your pet, proper identification is vital to ensure their safety. If your pet is staying behind, plan now for their comfort and care, as many pet-sitting services in the Four Corners book up weeks in advance. Never leave your pets outside without shelter during our cold Colorado winter days and nights. Start a hairy holiday tradition with your pet. Even though Spot is sure to love the paw warmers knit for him by Aunt Mable, his favorite gift will be time with you. Set aside time during the holidays for a walk with your pup; a ride with your favorite horse; or a petting session with your cat. The “time-out” from holiday madness will give you and your pet a much-appreciated, stress-relieving moment. Give “purr-fect” hostess gifts. Heading over to a friend’s house for holiday dinner? Instead of a bottle of wine or house plant, why not remember your host’s pets with some homemade holiday pet treats? A Mason jar full of peanut butter and pumpkin treats will ensure that you are the furry friend’s favorite. Set yourself up for a safe holiday season. Remember that some of our holiday favorites are toxic for pets. Poinsettias can cause irritation to your pet’s mouth and stomach and are considered toxic when ingested. Poultry bones dry out when cooked and splinter when chewed, causing severe stomach issues. Grapes, raisins and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Xylitol, a sugarless sweetener, can cause liver failure. And chocolate can wreak havoc on an animal’s digestive system and may result in heart arrhythmias. (For a full list of foods to avoid, visit aspca.org.) Happy holidays from the La Plata County Humane Society.
Aimee Hebert is a La Plata County Humane Society board member.