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Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet's eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
O Christmas Tree Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching "toy" that's easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
- Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
- Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won't lead to costly medical bills.
That Holiday Glow
Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet's mouth.
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you're busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year's Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat's intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.
Brrrr—it's cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.
- Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
- During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
- Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can easily become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags.
- Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
- Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
The Humane Society closes at 5pm the 4th Tuesday of each month.
Buy your dog a Kuranda Bed:
Donate a Kuranda Bed to the Humane Society:
LEWISTON — Maddie is a cat who loves people, rubbing up against the glass when someone walks by her cage at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society and purring when a volunteer scoops her up. She has long brown fur that she keeps immaculately groomed and she adores her pal Yoko, a little Siamese who shares her cage and shared her life long before the pair got dropped off at the shelter.
Maddie's also 11. But she's hardly in her twilight years.
"Cats can live to be 20, 22 years old," said Zach Black, operations manager. "They still have so much more time to give you."
He would know.
While the humane society has seen its kitten population drop by half since last year, its older cat population has surged. Thirty of the 90 cats currently living at the shelter are 6 years old or older. A few more are in foster homes.
"People are out of work. People are having to move, sell their homes. So we've kind of seen a spike in the older cats that are coming in," Black said. "Fortunately, they're all coming in spayed and neutered, and they've been taken care of, so we're not having to do that. But it's just a large, large number."
Older cats are also more likely to come in pairs — best friends bonded after a lifetime together. So when one family moves, the shelter can find itself with two new residents — like Maddie, 11, and Yoko, 10.
The shelter tries to find new homes for those cats together.
"Senior cats don't need as much attention, don't require as much maintenance. They love to cuddle," Black said. "And the pairs keep each other company."
The shelter has so many older cats that it's turned a spare side room into a kind of elder kitty village. Four cats live there now, away from the stress of the main hall, with plenty of room to stretch out. Two of the room's residents, Pooh, 10, and pal Squirt, 12, immediately greet visitors with purrs and head bumps. Squirt, the tubbier of the two, flops over for a belly rub.
"People come in here and they realize, 'Oh, they're so sweet,'" Black said.
In an effort to spur older cat adoptions, the shelter never charges adoption fees for cats over 5 years old. A shelter volunteer also made soft mats to go home with each senior cat adopted.
Some of the shelter's older cats have special needs. Smokey, a 6-year-old long-haired black cat who came with 6-year-old short-haired black cat, Glori, has diabetes and requires insulin and special food. Stumps, a 6-year-old orange cat, has been at the shelter since February and is positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, though he has no symptoms.
But while some of the older cats might require extra care, most are as healthy as their younger counterparts — including the shelter's oldest resident, 17-year-old Narla, a gray-and-white female who was dropped off in August because her family was moving.
The shelter encourages people to talk to their landlord about making an exception to a "no pets" rule if that's why they're giving up their older cat. Landlords may not want a big, rambunctious puppy tearing up the place, but they would be fine with an elderly cat — especially with references from a previous landlord.
"Maybe they're a little bit flexible," Black said.
But the humane society takes cats of any age and never euthanizes an animal just because it's old. The shelter once found a home for a cat who was 18.
"We always tell people that senior cats are so much more experienced in life. They're more social . . . a lot of times, they've lived with other dogs and cats and people and commotion, so there's not as much of an adjustment when you adopt an older cat," Black said. "We say they're just at their prime."
Maddie, 11, plots her escape as her bonded pair pal, Yoko, 10, snoozes when Greater Androscoggin Humane Society's Tonya Dodge comes to pick up her canned cat food dish Thursday morning. The Lewiston shelter has seen a recent drop in its kitten population, but a rise in its older cat population. The shelter does not charge adoption fees for cats over 5 years of age.
"I'd love to find her a forever home," said Tonya Dodge from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society of their oldest resident, Narla, a 17-year-old female cat.
Stumps, a 6-year-old FIV positive male cat, reaches out to playfully bat at the camera at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston on Thursday.
Dora, top left, and Moses, top right, both 10, are two of the many older cats the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society has in residence at its Lewiston shelter. There are so many adult cats at the moment, the shelter has had to turn an exam room, where Dora and Moses reside, into an overflow for felines.
We want to make your adoption experience the best that it can be, we also want to find you the perfect match. Below is a list of things that will help speed up you adoption process and assist you in giving your new friend the best care you can.
- Have another dog at home? If yes, bring them along for a meet and greet, so we can introduce them and the dog you might want to adopt.
- Make sure everyone in your family is on board with the adoption. We ask that you bring your children along, but it’s not required.
- Bring a leash or collar with you. The shelter is running low and can’t send dog’s home with them. We also sell Lupine collars and leashes in the retail store, adopters get 10% off.
- Printing off a picture of the dog(s) you are interested in will help our adoption counselor’s speed up your adoption experience.
- Plan for a forty-five minute to an hour and half wait on days that a large group of dogs go available for adoption.
- Have you done any research? Crate Training: http://aspcabehavior.org/articles/92/Weekend-Crate-Training-.aspx House Training: http://aspcabehavior.org/articles/3/House-Training-Your-Adult-Dog.aspx Training Your New Dog: http://aspcabehavior.org/articles/89/Training-Your-Dog.aspx
- Think you might have questions? Bring along a list of whatever you would like us to try answer. Our adoption counselors will be happy to help you!
- The adoption fee for dogs over 5 years is $100; for dogs 1 year to 5 years is $130.00; dogs 6 months to 1 year is $180.00; for dogs under 6 months it is $300.00. We accept cash, checks, and major credit cards.
Everyone in your family including your pets needs to be prepared for emergencies. With Irene possibly traveling over Maine this Sunday we all need to be prepared for the worst.
We just picked up the engraved pavers for the dog park entrance and hope to have them installed next week. But for those who missed the deadline I have good news, we found out there are 24 still available. You can download the brochure here.
You can now follow us on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a great way to find out what is happening at the shelter. Follow the links on the bottom left and join the Humane Society as we continue to grow.
For immediate release: For more information:
HUMANE SOCIETY ANNOUNCES FREE ADOPTION PROGRAM FOR SENIORS
AUBURN, MAINE – Steven Dostie, Shelter Director at the Greater Androscoggin Humane
Society announces the Special Pets for Seniors Program. Available to any senior citizen age 55 and
over, the program allows the opportunity for a senior to receive the love and companionship of a fuzzy
friend at no cost to the senior adoptor. A “Special Pet” is an animal over 5 years old who is in good health and who came to the Humane Society already spayed or neutered.
In addition to a new best friend, the program includes all medical tests, vaccinations, an identification tag,a free veterinary exam and more. The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society provides a safe haven for over 5,000 sick, homeless and abused animals in the greater Androscoggin area per year. The primary support for the shelter comes from fundraising events and donations of concerned citizens.
The Humane Society is located at 55 Strawberry Avenue in Lewiston. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering at the shelter or adopting an animal call 783-2311.
Where do most puppies sold in pets stores come from?