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Make the Holidays Merry for Pets


CONTACT: Roseann Trezza, Executive Director
December 7, 2007


IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL time of the year…for humans.

For pets and wildlife, the season to be jolly is filled with hazards and dangerous conditions that pet owners and animal lovers should be aware of and take steps to control.

“It is one of the busiest times of year and all too often many owners don’t recognize the hazards that surround their pets,” said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Zoo. “We should all take time out to remember some very important measures that can protect our pets.”

Keep Pets Out Of The Cold: Despite their permanent fur coats, cold weather can be dangerous to pets. Animals can get frostbite. Dogs kept inside a majority of the time do not build up a heavier coat so they cannot be left outside for long periods of time. Outdoor animals require extra calories to maintain their body temperature.

Take Shorter Walks: Puppies and older dogs are less tolerant of the cold. Exercise is still necessary, but should be minimized. Consider getting your pup a sweater or coat of his own. Also available for purchase are booties to keep their paws protected.

Check The Paws: When your pet comes in from outside, check its paws for salt, ice and snow, which can be damaging and a cause of frostbite. Thoroughly wipe paws and under belly for damaging salt, ice, snow, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals

Watch Out For The Trimmings: Ribbon, tinsel, garlands, broken holiday ornaments and extension cords can make for attractive chew toys for cats and dogs. However, once they find their way into a pet’s intestines, they can cause injury and even death. Holiday plants that are used to decorate, like holly and mistletoe can be poisonous. Keep decorations and other trimmings out of pets’ reach.

Pet Food Only, Please: All those cookies, snacks and heavy foods certainly make for great eating. But, even giving pets the table scraps from the holiday dinner may do more harm than good. Bones from turkey and other meats can splinter and dramatically harm a pet’s digestive tract. In addition, too much rich, fatty food can cause a variety of problems for dogs and cats. And some foods, which we enjoy like chocolates, grapes and raisins, can be poisonous to pets. Keep pets on their regular daily diets.

Remember The Water: Water is vital for animals year round. If you keep water outside for your pets or wildlife, be sure to check to make sure they are filled and have not frozen over.

Use Safe Antifreeze: Many types of antifreeze are poisonous to pets and children and their sweet smell and bright color make them appealing. Look for nontoxic antifreeze such as Sierra Antifreeze which is safe for kids, pets and wildlife.

Hit Your Car: Many cats and wildlife sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. Animals can be injured or killed when the motor is started. Bang loudly on the hood before starting the engine.

Leave Your Pet Home: Pets left in wintertime cars are just as much in danger as in the summer heat. Once the motor is turned off, the car becomes a refrigerator locking in the cold. Also, many pets are stolen when left unattended in cars.

Don’t Forget Your Wildlife Friends: If you feed birds and squirrels, continue during the cold weather as they rely on your daily snacks, especially if the ground becomes covered with snow.

Be An Angel: This time of year, AHS receives many complaints from caring individuals who see pets left tied outside without shelter or food and water. If you witness a neglectful situation contact the Associated Humane Societies, the NJ SPCA or your local animal control to avoid cruelty and neglect. If you are aware of cruelty but do not know who to contact, please notify us and we will direct your complaint to someone near you.

Give An Unwanted Animal The Best Present Of All – A Home: Consider adopting a dog or cat. There are hundreds of dogs and cats waiting for adoption at the Associated Humane Societies’ three Animal Care Centers in Forked River, Tinton Falls and Newark. To learn more or see some of the animals looking for new homes log on to


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