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PET-FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS

Keeping them safe and happy all season long

BY NATALIE DAL PRA

The holidays are a joyful, but hectic, time of year. As exhausting as the season can be for us, the festivities can be even tougher on our pets. Whether you’re traveling to visit family or planning a cocktail party, don’t forget about your furry companions this holiday season.

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PET-PROOF DECORATIONS
Deck the halls with your pets in mind. Have a kitty that enjoys batting at your Christmas tree? Shatterproof ornaments will keep your cat safe and prevent potential broken glass incidents. Avoid using tinsel to decorate, because it’s a choking hazard that could lead to serious complications for animals. Securing your tree with anchors is also a smart idea, especially if you have more energetic pets.

Be careful when using plants to decorate your home. The Pet Poison Hotline says many flowers and plants, including lilies, English Holly, and mistletoe, are poisonous to animals. Good news for poinsettia lovers, however, the popular holiday plant poses minimal risk to pets.

TABLE SCRAPS
It’s tempting to give your pets tastes of holiday delicacies, but there’s a serious risk factor involved with feeding them food intended for humans. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), common party snacks like chocolate, nuts, potato chips, grapes, and cheese are harmful to animals, even in small doses. If you want to give your fur baby a special holiday meal, consider buying treats from a local pet bakery or pet shop, like Dexter’s Deli in Del Mar or Decker’s Dog + Cat in La Jolla and Bay Park.

QUIET SPACES
While many animals love and appreciate the extra attention (and pets!) from holiday house guests, others are overwhelmed easily. Timid pets will benefit from a comfortable space with their bed and favorite toys. Set up a cozy area in a quieter part of your house, such as a bedroom, for them to relax.

THE REGULAR ROUTINE
Just like humans, pets thrive on routine. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, so don’t forget to prioritize walks, play time, and plenty of cuddles when you can. Extra treats and tender loving care will go a long way in ensuring your pets stay happy and stress-free.

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TRUSTWORTHY PET SITTERS
There are times when traveling with your beloved animals isn’t an option. Having a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor care for your pets while you’re away will give you peace of mind. “There are many great resources in our area for reliable pet sitting,” says Cody Decker, co-owner of Decker’s Dog + Cat. “Our customers often ask who we recommend, and we try to connect them with local people with pet-sitting businesses, pet hotels, and so on. Beyond that, we tell them to check out apps like Rover, Wag, and Care.com to find an experienced pet sitter with verified reviews.”

ADOPTING A FURRY FRIEND
Do you know someone in need of companionship? Or maybe your pet would appreciate a new best friend. If you’re searching for a sweet kitten or precious puppy this holiday season, consider adoption. There are so many wonderful pets right now sitting in shelters and foster care homes, waiting for their forever homes. The holidays are the perfect time to grant a wish. Check out the many pet adoption services in our area online, and be prepared to fall in love.

ADOPT A PET

A.R.W.O.B. Animal Rescuers Without Borders
arwob.org

Synergy Animal Hospice
animalsynergy.org

Cat Adoption Service
catadoptionservice.org

Helen Woodward Animal Center
animalcenter.org

It’s the Pits Dog Rescue
itsthepits.rescuegroups.org

Lionel’s Legacy: Senior Dog Rescue
lionelslegacy.org

PAWS of Coronado
pawsofcoronado.org

Second Chance Dog Rescue
secondchancedogrescue.org

SPOT—Saving Pets One at a Time
spotsavespets.org

Thrive Animal Rescue
thriveanimalrescue.com