Holiday Pet Health Tips from the Chester County SPCA

The Chester County SPCA wishes you, your family and your pets a happy and safe holiday season. If you are thinking of getting a new pet for the holidays, please come see us to adopt your new best friend. On Saturday, December 12th from noon to 5:00 pm, we’ll be hosting “Home for the Holidays” at our shelter and will have special holiday promotions.

This holiday season, CCSPCA would like to remind pet owners to use caution and make sure your pets don’t get into any mischief! Nothing can dissipate your holiday spirit more than a trip to the emergency veterinarian! It’s not only scary, but also can be very expensive.

Remember to securely anchor your holiday tree so that it does not fall over if kittens or puppies decide to climb. Aluminum foil can be placed around the base of the tree to deter tree climbers who will not like the sound it makes when they step on it. If you have a real tree, make sure you don’t let your pets drink from the tree water as it contains fertilizers and bacteria that may cause diarrhea and nausea.

Tinsel is pretty and fun to play with, but ingestion can lead to an obstruction of the digestive tract which may result in surgery. Warning signs are not eating, severe vomiting and dehydration. We recommend keeping the holiday safe by using other types of decorations on your tree. Also, avoid using edible ornaments such as popcorn and cranberries which may create too much of a temptation, especially for the hound dog nose.

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring to mind rich, tasty foods that we all love, but many treats for us are unhealthy and can prove deadly for our dogs and cats. Foods high in fat, turkey bones, onions, garlic, grapes and alcohol should not be eaten by your pets. Chocolate and raisons, found in many of our favorite desserts, are toxic to dogs. So keep your plates and glasses out of reach and don’t forget to secure the lids on your garbage cans to avoid any serious mishaps.

Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettias, traditional holiday décor when eaten can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, some varieties of lilies may cause kidney failure if ingested by curious cats. Artificial plants made from silk or plastic can be just as pretty without the risk.

Candles create the festive holiday charm, but should not be left unattended. Pets can accidently knock them over and cause a dangerous fire. Additionally cats, especially long haired ones, can accidently set themselves on fire when strolling across a counter by a lit candle. Always remember to blow out your candles when you leave the room unsupervised.

Long ribbons, strings and other package decorations make our presents beautiful, but they are also choking hazards for pets. Cats in particular love to play with ribbons, feathers and flowing things, but if ingested, you could be making a trip to the emergency veterinarian for an obstruction.

Don’t forget to choose your pet’s holiday gift with care. Dogs can tear up their toys and swallow the pieces. Make sure you chose indestructible gifts such as Kongs or chew treats designed to be safely digested. Avoid cat toys with strings, ribbon, and small loose parts that can be swallowed. Treat your cat instead to a stuffed catnip toy or ball that is too big to swallow or maybe a new scratching post.

In November, the Chester County SPCA is opening our new low-cost clinic at 9 Coffman Street in Malvern. The new facility will provide owner-surrender intake, along with affordable spay/neuter and veterinary care for owned pets in need. While we are not open 24 hours and do not handle emergency or specialty veterinary care (such as holiday emergency care), we are happy to provide other options for your pet’s health care needs.

The Chester County SPCA is the first open admission shelter in the state of Pennsylvania to achieve No Kill status and serves as the only open admission shelter in both Chester and Delaware Counties. Our mission is to put the “human” back in humane animal treatment and advocate on their behalf. Every year, the CCSPCA cares for nearly 5,000 stray, owner-surrendered, wayward owned, and abused and neglected animals. For more information, please visit www.ccspca.org.

Be safe and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

~ ~ ~

A new employee of the West Chester SPCA and soon to be resident of Pennsylvania, Nancy McCall has eight years’ experience as Director of Development in animal welfare in Tampa, Florida. Prior to that, she worked as a trust officer, a paralegal, and a manager in the motion picture industry in Hollywood, CA. An animal lover since birth, Nancy shares her home with two dogs and three cats and spends her leisure time riding horses and trapping feral cats for Trap-Neuter-Release.

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