The Humane Society of the United States reminds people that it’s important to include canine and feline friends in Thanksgiving and other holiday preparations. The HSUS is urging pet owners to take important precautions: festive food and beverages, along with the commotion of large gatherings, may pose hazards for furry family members.
“Thanksgiving is a special time of year for many families, but it can also be hectic, and the change in routines can be confusing for pets,” said K.C. Theisen, director of pet care issues for HSUS. “It’s important to take an extra minute to pay attention to your pet’s well-being, so everyone can have an enjoyable holiday.”
HSUS offers these tips to keep four-legged family members healthy and happy:
—Provide your pet with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties. Though some pets may enjoy socializing opportunities, the excitement of a party may overwhelm others.
—Avoid the urge to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death. Many foods that humans love are potentially toxic to dogs and cats (like chocolate, raisins and onions). Ask your guests to respect your “no feeding” wishes.
—If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact them in advance to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during the holidays, it might be best to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter instead.
—When traveling with your pet, attach temporary tags with contact information for your mobile phone, as well as a phone number for where you are staying.
—Know the contact information for a local veterinarian at your destination, in case of emergency, and check on his or her holiday availability. Be sure that you bring along a copy of your pet’s health records, and pack extra amounts of any pet medication in case your return home is delayed.
—Traveling with your pet by air is risky, particularly during this busy time for airlines. Consider driving instead of flying, or leaving your pet under the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel. Remember that your pet’s carrier will be expected to undergo airline screening, so be sure to either have your pet securely harnessed so she can be safely contained while her carrier is X-rayed or request a special secondary screening from TSA that will not require you to take her out of her carrier.
—If you are leaving your pet at home with a pet sitter, be sure to ask for references, plus written proof that he or she is bonded and has commercial liability insurance.
—If you are leaving your pet at a boarding kennel, visit the kennel ahead of time to make sure that it’s clean, comfortable and safe for your pet.
Humans are not the only ones who will be thankful at Thanksgiving. Shelter pets would be thankful for a new home and family to share their lives with this coming holiday season. Visit theshelterpetproject.org to search for a pet, find local shelters and learn more about the adoption process.
For more information on traveling with a pet, visit humanesociety.org and search “travel tips.”
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