Pet tips and resources
WINTER AND HOLIDAY TIPS
Make the holidays safer for your pet
The holidays are a fun and festive time for everyone, including our pets. However, that good cheer could be ruined if your cat or dog ends up sick, missing, or worse. To help keep this the most wonderful time of the year, Regional Animal Services is pleased to offer the following tips adapted from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
- Keep people food away from your pet, especially candy and chocolate, and ask your holiday guests to do the same. If you suspect your dog or cat has gotten into something they shouldn't have, contact your veterinarian right away.
- Keep your pet away from the Christmas tree, lit candles, and holiday plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly.
- If you have a cat, consider skipping the tinsel on the tree. Cats are often attracted to the shiny plastic.
- Secure your Christmas tree to keep it from falling over if your pet climbs or bumps it.
- Some holiday decorations can be harmful to pets. Keep a close eye on known "chewers," and don't let them chew on electrical cords, plastic, or plants.
- Be sure your dog or cat is wearing a collar with a license and ID tag securely attached. Pets can easily escape through doors opened for holiday party guests. You may also consider microchipping your pet. Check with your veterinarian about this service.
- If your pet does escape, check with local animal shelters and rescue groups in person to see if your pet has been picked up. Residents in the RASKC service area can also visit our I Lost My Pet page to file a lost pet report. Pet owners can also call 206-296-PETS (7387), and enter 311 to hear a list of stray dogs, or 312 for a listing of stray cats.
- If you know your pet gets upset by company, consider putting them in a separate room with a bed, crate, and lots of their favorite toys.
- If your pet is kept outdoors, consider bringing them inside during cold weather, or securing them in a garage, shed, or barn.
Just like people, your pets have to be prepared for winter weather too. It's important to make sure your pet is kept safe and warm no matter the conditions outside.
- As always, the best thing to do is to keep your pet inside when it's cold and wet outside. Of course, dogs do have to go out to do their "business," but limit the time they spend in the elements.
- Provide outdoor animals with a warm, dry, secure shelter out of the wind, such as a garage, barn, or insulated pet house. Always have fresh, clean, unfrozen water available for pets. Your dog or cat is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
- Ice melting chemicals can injure your pet's paws. They could also get sick from licking the residue off their feet or the floor. After pets have been outside, clean their paws well, making sure to check between the pads for clumps of ice, snow, or ice melting chemicals. Wipe up any melted snow or ice you may have tracked indoors.
- Gently towel or blow-dry your dog or cat if they get wet.
- Cats and kittens often nap on warm car engines and hoods. Knock on the hood or honk the car horn before starting the engine.
- Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a small amount can kill them. Clean up spills at once, and store antifreeze securely away from pets.
- Groom your pets. Pets need well-groomed coats to keep them properly insulated.
- If you do suspect your pet has become sick or injured, contact your veterinarian immediately. If you see an animal in distress due to the cold, call 9-1-1 or your area's animal control agency. To reach RASKC, call 206-296-7387 (PETS).
For wellness, holiday, and weather-related pet safety tips, visit our blog Tails from RASKC.