Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.
Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:
- Talkin’ Turkey: If you decide to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.
- No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.
- Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
- A Feast Fit for a King: While your family enjoys a special meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
Halloween is in just a few days, which means frightening family fun—from costume contests to trick-or-treating—is right around the corner. Although Halloween is filled with light-hearted tricks and treats, it’s important to keep safety in mind for every member of the family—including your pets. Halloween can pose a number of potential safety hazards for pets, who tend to experience high levels of stress due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Here are a few tips to keep you and your four-legged family members safe and happy this Halloween:
Costumes—while cute, can be dangerous for pets. Costume contests are popular around Halloween, and it’s tempting to want to dress up your four-legged friend in their own costume. After all, who can resist dressing up a pet in a cute witch’s cape or antlers? But if you do choose to dress your pet up in costume, make sure they can move in it comfortably and most importantly, safely. Avoid costumes that require tying anything around your pet’s neck that can choke them, or costumes that hang to the ground that they may stumble over. Let your pet be the judge. If they struggle and are uncomfortable, then maybe it’s best to let them stay dressed as a Corgi rather than a ghost!
Keep your pet away from harmful Halloween candy and food. Before you give in to your pet’s pleading eyes and feed them that Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful consequences of feeding human food to any animal. Chocolate—especially baking chocolate—can be deadly to a dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach. To reduce temptation, feed your pet before any guests arrive so they will be less likely to beg and steal food. Tell your guests of any house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding them scraps from the table.
If nicotine and alcohol will be consumed in your home this Halloween, be extra vigilant to keep these items out of your pet’s reach. These substances can be highly toxic—even deadly—to animals.
Keep your home a safe space for your pet. Animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of guests and trick-or- treaters. It’s best to keep your pets indoors and provide them with a safe, quiet, escape-proof room where they can be removed from the energy and excitement of the holiday. Remember to provide plenty of food and water, and let your pet catch up on some Zs!
As trick-or-treaters come to your door, there will be many opportunities for your pets to slip out unnoticed. Make sure that your pets always wear current identification tags, consider having your pets microchipped if you haven’t already—and watch the door!
Halloween, and all the spooky fun that accompanies the holiday, is best enjoyed when the entire family is safe and happy. Follow these tips, and your pet will have just as much fun as you and your kids this Halloween! Be sure to visit our holiday tips page for even more helpful advice to help you and your pets with some of the other upcoming holidays.
A special thanks to Texas Roadhouse on Union Rd. in Cheektowaga for hosting our fundraising event on September 24th!
Attendees enjoyed great food and supported a great cause.
Thanks to Buffalo Barks and our other sponsors for their generous basket donations. Here are the winners:
50/50 – Tom Cegielski
Handmade Fleece Blanket – Joe Wolf
Melaleuca Basket – SandyDiPoalo
Furtastic Basket – Jenny Smith
Buffalo Barks Basket – Emily
Follow these tips to keep your pet safe this Independence Day:
1. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times!
More Pets are lost on Independence Day than any other day of the year. It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.
2. Don’t Put Insect Repellant or Sunscreen on Your Pet that isn’t Specifically for Pet Use
What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.
3. Alcoholic Drinks Poison Pets
If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.
4. Going to a Fireworks Display? Leave Your Pet at Home
The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke. Leave them in a secured, quiet area or leave music or the TV on.
5. Be Prepared if Your Pet Does Escape
If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.
6. Keep Your Pet Away from Glow Jewelry
It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.”
7. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets
While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
8. Don’t Give Your Pet “Table Food”
If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats. Keep some pet treats on hand for guests who want to offer your pet a treat.
9. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets
The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested. Hot grills are also dangerous to curious pets, keep them entertained away from the flames.
Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.
Dogs & Water Safety Water can be a great source of fun for you and your dog. Before you take your pooch out for a paddle, though, make sure you know how to keep things safe.
You might think canines are natural-born swimmers, but that isn’t always the case. There’s no sure way to gauge your pal’s swimming skills until you introduce him to H2O and teach him the basics:
- Choose a quiet, shallow spot in the water.
- Keep your dog on a leash while he learns.
- Get into the water with him.
- Start at the edge of the water, and stay as long as he enjoys it.
- If he doesn’t want to go, don’t force him in — especially if it’s a deep spot.
- When your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to show him how to float.
The younger your buddy is when you teach him to swim, the better. Keep the lesson positive and stress-free for him.
At the Beach
While you enjoy the surf with your pal, keep these tips in mind:
- Watch out for strong currents and riptides, which can take you both out to sea. Even the best swimmer can be in danger when seas are rough.
- Don’t let your dog drink ocean water. It can make him sick. Bring fresh H2O with you to keep him hydrated.
- Keep your pal away from fish that have washed onto the shore. They may smell great to him, but they can make him ill.
In the Pool
Got a swimming hole in your backyard? Keep it Fido-friendly with these steps:
- Put a fence around it to keep your dog out when it isn’t time to swim.
- Keep a sturdy cover over it when you aren’t using it. It should be made of a material that lets rainwater drain through. Dogs can drown in puddles on top of pool covers.
- Teach your dog how to get in and out. Make sure there are steps or a ramp he can use to climb out.
- Check the water temperature before letting your dog take a dip. Only a few breeds can handle extra-cold water.
In a River, Lake, or Pond
Keep these tips in mind when you’re at Mother Nature’s water park:
- Get your dog a life jacket, especially if you take him out on a boat or a dock.
- Steer clear of bodies of water with blue-green algae. It can make your buddy sick.
- Check the current of a river or a creek. Make sure it isn’t too strong to let your dog swim.
- Keep your pal away from fishing gear. Sharp hooks and barbs can hurt him.
General Safety Rules
No matter where your pooch makes a splash, follow these pointers:
- Rinse him off after he’s been in any type of water. Seawater minerals, salt, chlorine, algae, and pollution can irritate or damage his skin and fur.
- Remove his flea collar before he swims. Water can wash off its active ingredients.
- Dry your dog’s ears completely to prevent an infection. Try an ear cleaner that has a drying agent in it.
- Learn canine CPR. Mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions could save a dog’s life in an emergency.
- Never leave your pal alone in the water.
If a natural disaster strikes, what will happen to your pet?
Be prepared: make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pet. Leaving pets out of evacuation plans can put pets, pet owners, and first responders in danger. Even if you try to create a safe place for them, pets left behind during a disaster are likely to be injured, lost, or worse. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to find out what type of shelters and assistance are available in your area to accommodate pets and to include pets in your disaster plan to keep them safe during an emergency.
Have you included pets in your disaster plan? Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Start today by: Making a plan and preparing a disaster kit
By doing so, you are protecting the health of not only your pet, but yourself, your family, and others in your community.
To get started, familiarize yourself with the types of disasters that could impact your area and consider your options for providing care for your pet(s).
Make a Plan
Disasters can happen without warning, so be prepared for these events:
- Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification.
- Microchip your pet(s) – this is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Always be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.
- Purchase a pet carrier for each of your pets (write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on each carrier).
- Familiarize your pet with its transport crate before a crisis.
- Practice transporting your pet by taking them in for rides in a vehicle similar to one you would be evacuating in.
- Practice catching your pet, if needed.
- Keep a leash and/or carrier nearby the exit.
- Ensure proper equipment for pets to ride in the car (carriers, harnesses, pet seatbelts).
- If you do not have a car, make arrangements with neighbors, family and friends.
- Decide where you and your pet are going to stay. Based on the severity of a disaster, you may have two options for your pets:
- Sheltering in place
- Sheltering in a facility away from home (during an evacuation)
Sheltering in Place
When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly in the following ways:
- Select a safe room, preferably an interior room with no (or few) windows.
- Remove any toxic chemicals or plants.
- Close off small areas where frightened cats could get stuck in (such as vents or beneath heavy furniture).
Sheltering during an evacuation
- Some jurisdictions will offer companion animal sheltering with general population and functional/access needs sheltering. Check your local media and/or County Emergency website, or ReadyErie (Erie County residents).
- If accommodations are needed for your pet(s):
- Contact local veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and local animal shelters. Visit the Humane Society website to find a shelter in your area.
- Contact family or friends outside the evacuation area.
- Contact a pet-friendly hotel, particularly along evacuation routes.
- Make plans before disaster strikes for where you and your pets will go. Be aware that pets may not be allowed in local human shelters, unless they are service animals.
- Check with:
- Family or friends outside the evacuation area.
- Pet-friendly hotels
- Check with:
- If accommodations are needed for your pet(s):
Prepare a Pet Disaster Kit
Prepare a disaster kit for your pet(s), so evacuation will go smoothly for your entire family. Ask your veterinarian for help putting it together. Some examples of what to include are:
- Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at least 2 weeks for each pet
- Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
- For cats: litter box and litter
- For dogs: plastic bags for poop
- Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper towels, plastic trash bags, bleach-containing cleaning agent)
- Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with any treats used to give the medications and pharmacy contact for refills
- Medical records
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- Current vaccination record
- If your pet has a microchip, a record of the microchip number
- Prescription for medication(s)
- For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or vaccination date
- Summary of pertinent medical history; ask your veterinarian for a copy
- Sturdy leashes or harnesses
- Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around; towels or blankets
- Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet [s] feel more comfortable).
- A handout containing identification information (in the event you get separated from your pet)
- Current photo of pet
- Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex, neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and approximate weight)
- Microchip number
- Owner contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone)
- Contact information of a close relative or friend,
- A handout with boarding instructions, such as feeding schedule, medications, and any known allergies and behavior problems
- Documents, medications, and food should be stored in waterproof container
https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/publications/ Photo credit: Lawrence Humane Society