Easy ways to keep your pet happy this holiday season

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As British Columbians gear up to celebrate the winter season, the BC SPCA is reminding pet guardians that the holidays, and the colder weather, can be hazardous for pets.

The SPCA has issued a few pet safety tips to keep your furry family members happy and healthy this season, including foods to stay away from, hazardous toys, decorations and poisonous plants.

They are warning the public to keep the following away from pets:

  • Bones: 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.
  • Chocolate: 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.
  • 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.
  • Tinsel:  Avoid using tinsel or angel hair on your tree – 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.
  • Hazardous toys: 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.

snow dog

Image: BC SPCA

During periods of cold weather or snow, the SPCA encourages pet owners to be mindful of the following:

  • Make sure you thoroughly clean the pads of your pet’s paws after they’ve walked on sidewalks or roads to remove any coarse salt that can cause irritation.
  • Use pet-safe propylene-based antifreeze instead of ethylene glycol antifreeze, which is toxic to pets and wildlife. A mere tablespoon of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a cat or small dog.
  • Cats and wildlife gravitate to warm engines during cold weather. Banging on the hood before getting into your car can avoid a tragic ending for an animal seeking refuge from the cold.
  • The SPCA is vehemently opposed to keeping pets permanently outdoors and strongly urges pet guardians to keep animals inside during cold weather. However, if domestic or farm animals are kept outside, ensure they have access to shelter that is off the ground, provides protection from wind, cold and dampness and is properly insulated.
  • Ensure your own cat is protected from the elements and be on the look-out for abandoned cats who need shelter, food, water or medical help.

BCSPCA food infographic v3

Image: BC SPCA

Featured Image: Dog in snow via Shutterstock

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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