It is both winter time and the holiday season which can both be treacherous to your pets.
The BC SPCA is putting out some tips and tricks to keep your four-legged family members safe this time of year – both inside and out
They urge pet owners to consider bringing all their domestic pets indoors this time of year and to watch out for antifreeze, sidewalk salt and a lack of drinkable water.
“Remember, even thought animals have fur coats, they can still get cold,” writes the BC SPCA. “The best place for your pets during the winter is where you are – safe and warm indoors.”
Dogs in Pick-up Trucks: It is never appropriate to transport a dog in an open pick-up truck – especially in winter. Wind chill plus slippery conditions, which result in higher accident rates, put your dog at risk.
Ice-Free Water: If you keep any animals outdoors during winter weather, be sure their water supply is checked twice a day to keep it ice-free.
Antifreeze: Many animals like the taste of antifreeze and will readily consume it when given the opportunity. However, antifreeze, even in the smallest amounts, can have a very harmful and often fatal effect on your pet. Refer to their antifreeze campaign for details.
Salt: The salt used to melt snow irritates the pads of pet’s feet. Wipe off your pet’s feet before they lick their paws, and buy pet-friendly salt!
Warm Engines: Cats and wildlife gravitate to warm engines during cold winters. Be sure to bang your hood to avoid injuring an animal in your engine.
As the holidays swing into action, there are plenty of festive decorations and seasonal teats, visiting friends and family members, and often, loud noises of celebration, including fireworks.
“We want all family members, two-legged and four-legged, to enjoy a safe, happy and healthy holiday season,” says BC SPCA general manager of community relations Lorie Chortyk.
Here are some SPCA provided tips to help pet guardians ensure their furry companions’ continued health and well-being.
Bones are Bad: Avoid giving bones to your dogs or cats, particularly turkey bones. Poultry bones easily splinter and can cause serious injury, while bone fragments can cause intestinal blockages or lacerations.
Thoughtful Treats: Chocolate and other sweets should not be given to animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to cats and dogs, though not harmful to humans. The best thing you can do for your pet over the holidays is to keep them on their regular diet. Look for healthy animal treats instead of giving your animal companions cookies, rich snacks or sweets meant for people.
Poisonous Plants: Many popular holiday plants are poisonous to animals including mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper and Christmas rose. Remember to keep these plants out of reach of pets – especially birds. Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or people. This has been a long-standing rumour perpetuated for decades. Some pets may have a sensitivity to the latex contained in the plant and may get diarrhea or vomit.
Tinsel is Trouble: Having a Christmas tree and pets can be troublesome. Ensure the tree is well-secured and try to place the decorations above paw height. Using string to hang decorations instead of hooks helps, as hooks can be easily dislodged. If possible, use non-breakable ornaments. Avoid using tinsel or angel hair – cats and dogs will ingest both, which can cause intestinal problems. Cords for lights should be made inaccessible to pets, especially chewing puppies and exploring kittens. If you add chemicals to the water reservoir of your Christmas tree to help it last longer, keep in mind those chemicals are toxic to animals and keep the reservoir covered.
Toy Watch: Avoid purchasing pet toys with small or soft pieces that can be chewed and swallowed. Nylon bones tend to splinter less than plastic ones. Be sure to inspect pet toys regularly and discard deteriorating ones.
Neighbour notice: If you’ve just moved, or know that your neighbours like to light firecrackers and fireworks at certain times of year, including New Year’s, consider printing this notice that asks your neighbours to notify you if they plan on lighting any fireworks, so you can ensure your pet is indoors and safe.