Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Danger number one for dogs and cats during the holidays

Duffy, available for adoption from
Hound.haven AT gmail DOT com
Stop what you are doing right now and make sure your dog has tags and your cat has a tear-away collar.  The cat’s collar is to let someone know that cat has a home.  They should be micro-chipped with up-to-date registration information.  


The upcoming holiday season is hazardous to your dogs and cats.  They are at an increased risk of loss.  You have people coming in and out, to visit, to party, or to deliver packages.  This is the number one time of year for animals to get lost.

Your favorite aunt from the East Coast may casually say, “Your cat wanted out, so I let him out.”

That’s right, your inside cat who you battle to keep inside has just been ushered out!

And then there are the fireworks on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. . . .

Some rescuers say that New Year’s Day they see the most lost animals.  Several years in a row, this reporter got calls on Christmas Day from people who had found lapdogs.  Those dogs were all visiting with their families and so were really lost in that they did not know the neighborhood. When visiting with your animal, you can always put tape on their collar with a local phone number -especially if you have no tag or the tag has your landline home phone on it.

How can you diminish the possibility of an animal getting out? 

Make sure your guests know which animals are allowed out and through which doors.  Lock your gates so children don’t leave them open.  (It also helps keep track of visiting children if  to leave your yard, they have to go through the house.)
Your friends may want to greet your animals when they arrive at your home, but it is better to keep the dogs and cats in another room until the initial commotion of greetings and carrying in luggage subsides. 

Maybe your dog or cat is a party animal, but many are more comfortable not being underfoot and seeing strangers. So if you have a party, consider confining the animals where they can doze instead of stealing holiday cookies.

Follow the same restrictions for nights there are fireworks.  Some dogs will go over, under or through a fence that ordinarily is an impassible barrier.  If your dog hates explosions, put him inside in an interior room.  Turn on some music.  Consider giving him Benadryl.  (Consult your vet for the proper dosage.)  Many people swear by Thunder Shirts which calm a dog by wrapping him tightly about the chest.  Apparently that is a comforting sensation. 

Do not try to soothe him, but just act normally.  If you soothe a dog when he is frightened, he thinks there is a reason to be scared.  Better to carry on as if nothing is unusual.

I hope you won’t spend your Thanksgiving driving around looking and hanging up signs, but if you do lose or find an animal, check for tips on LostPetHelp.com.  It has special tips for San Antonio, but there are pointers anyone can use.

Even when you take precautions, dogs and cats are always dreaming of what is beyond their boundaries – so don’t beat yourself up if an animal goes on walk-about.  We can only do the best we can.  But do make sure that when your lost animal is found, he has ID so you can be found too!