By Sari Reis
Over the years, I have written numerous articles addressing issues of pet safety. With the holiday season just around the corner, I decided to revisit the potential hazards associated with the festivities.
Visitors: With friends and relatives dropping by, many pets may be stressed out by all the extra commotion. Be sure to keep shy pets in a safe place where they feel comfortable when strangers are around. Also, alert guests to open and close doors swiftly so there are no accidental escapes.
Decorations: Although decorations make our homes look and feel festive, many of them are hazardous to pets. Lilies, poinsettias and holly can make cats very ill. Be careful with candles and ornaments that are breakable. Tinsel is a no-no for cats.
Food: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah have tasty offerings with wonderful smells that attract our pets, especially dogs. Keep the people food out of their reach, especially chocolate, which is toxic. Instead, provide tasty holiday treats designed especially for them.
Travel: If you are traveling during the holidays and your pets are not accompanying you, make sure you retain a reliable pet-sitter for them. You will have peace of mind and a much better time if you have someone dependable who will make sure they are kept safe, healthy and happy during your absence. If you are taking your pets with you, be certain they are safely secure during the mobile part of your trip (car or plane), and that you have brought everything they will need while you are away.
Speaking of travel safety, while doing research for this piece, I came across an organization that was previously unfamiliar to me. Created in 2011 by founder Lindsay A. Wolko, the “Center for Pet Safety” is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to protecting pets and the people who love them.
Inspired by a blue roan English Cocker Spaniel named Maggie, this association is on the cutting edge of making the world safer for pets. Over the years since its inception, Ms. Wolko has authored safety standards for pet products, launched a certification program and counseled numerous pet product manufacturers on how to create safer products. To date, their projects have included harnesses, crates and carriers.
Products they have tested, researched and certified can be found on their website, centerforpetsafety.org. Projects designated for the coming months will focus on food, flotation devices and toys.
Similar to Consumer Reports, this organization does not accept any funding from pet product manufacturers. They rely strictly on donations from people and companies interested in the protection and well-being of pets rather than any profit motives.
If you are interested in getting involved with this innovative and very important organization, please visit their website. Other websites that offer excellent safety information are the ASPCA.org, americanhumane.org, vetstreet.com, amva.org to name a few.
Your furry kids depend on you to keep them safe and protected. Don’t let them down and have a safe and happy holiday season.
—Sari Reis is a certified humane education specialist and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. For more information, you can reach her at 760-644-0289 or missionvalleypetsitting.com.