ANN BAILEY: Keeps your pets safe this holiday seasonChocolate is a favorite at our house and during the holidays family members are sure to find it in a candy form in their Christmas stockings. Because we know that chocolate, while OK for humans, is harmful to the three canines who reside with us, we are careful to keep it out of the kitchen where they spend their time when they’re in the house. Candy-napping
By: Ann Bailey, Grand Forks Herald
Chocolate is a favorite at our house and during the holidays family members are sure to find it in a candy form in their Christmas stockings.
Because we know that chocolate, while OK for humans, is harmful to the three canines who reside with us, we are careful to keep it out of the kitchen where they spend their time when they’re in the house.
Despite our good intentions, though, there have been a couple of times when the dogs have gotten into the chocolate. A couple of years ago, for example, we put the chocolate on the dining room table when we went to church and when we returned home, a few torn-up wrappers were all that remained of Brendan’s, Thomas’ and Ellen’s boxes of chocolates.
Minnie, who had never jumped over the pet gate apparently couldn’t resist the smell of chocolate Santas. Fortunately she is a big dog and didn’t suffer any ill-effects from consuming about a pound of chocolate and several foil wrappers.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we had another case of chocolate-napping when I went upstairs for a minute and Rosebud leapt over the gate and ate several peanut butter truffles that were sitting in the middle of the dining room table.
I was relieved that she didn’t get sick from the candies, which contained more peanut butter than chocolate, but I was disappointed that I had only gotten to eat one before Rosebud found them.
In both cases, we were lucky that the worst thing that happened was that the humans in our family got cheated out of chocolate treats and had to clean up candy-wrapper messes.
Chocolate can be harmful to dogs, and, according to the Humane Society of the United States, the wrappers can cause double trouble. Pets also should not consume any other kind of people food, either, said Arlette Moen, executive director of Circle of Friends Humane Society in Grand Forks.
“It doesn’t have the nutrient content meant for dogs, and the salt content in people food is real high,” she said. Instead, of giving dogs people food for a treat, give them a high-quality dog treat, instead, Moen suggests.
The Humane Society also reminds pet owners that seasonal plants, such as ivy, holly and mistletoe are poisonous if nibbled or eaten. Holiday decorations, including tinsel, bows, ribbons and wrapping paper can cause digestive system damage. Artificial snow, light cords and balls also are dangerous, if consumed, Moen said.
She also notes that while holiday parties may be enjoyable for humans, pets may be overwhelmed by the excitement. Those pets should be kept in a quiet place away from the festivities, she said.
People who plan to be out of town during the holidays and have a pet-sitter watch their animal should know the animal’s routine and make sure they watch carefully when they enter or leave the house so it doesn’t slip out, Moen said.
“We get a lot of calls saying, ‘We’re watching a pet for someone and it got away.”’
If a pet does get out of the house while someone is pet-sitting or when trying to escape a holiday gathering, the pet-sitter or owner should call the Circle of Friends Humane Society at (701) 775-3732, Moen said. The humane society staff will keep a description of the pet on hand and contact the owner if someone finds the pet or let the owner know if someone calls with information about a pet that fits the description.
If people are buying a pet for a gift, Moen suggests that they consider adoption as an option because there are a lot of pets of all types and ages that need homes. If the recipient does not live in the same home as the gift-giver, it’s better to buy a gift certificate so he or she can choose the pet, she said.
“There are so many personality issues, the actual pet owner is someone who has to do the choosing.”
People who are buying a pet as a gift for a child should be aware that adults will have responsibility for the pet. While children can help feed, water and groom the pet, adults are the ones that really will be doing the majority of the pet care, Moen said.