NewsLocal News


MDARD offers tips to keep pets safe this holiday season

Standing dog
Posted at 2:38 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 14:38:23-05

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is encouraging Michiganders to follow six steps this holiday season to help keep their pets healthy and safe.

Happy Tummies: Avoid feeding pets people food

MDARD says even small amounts of fatty foods like turkey, meat fat and gravy can cause pancreatitis in pets. They also say chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum, can be poisonous to pets. You should also avoid giving pets bones because they cause injury and illness.

Avoid Temptations: Keep holiday decorations out of reach

While sparkling ornaments, tinsel and lights make for a beautiful display, they also catch the eye of pets. Decorative items like this can cause intestinal blockage or other injuries if eaten. MDARD says to keep these items out of reach of your pets along with candles, potpourris, and some festive flowers/plant like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias.

Search No More: Make sure pets have proper identification

With so many holiday activities, MDARD warns it's easy for pets to sneak out and get lost. MDARD recommends all pets have identification tags and microchips that are up to date with current contact information to make it easy to reunite lost pets with their owners.

Cleared for Take-off: Ensure your pet is fit for travel

MDARD recommends talking to your veterinarian before traveling with pets to help determine what steps or documents you might need. Different states, countries, commercial carriers and lodging facilities can all have additional requirements for your pet to accompany you. You can find more details on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pet Travel website.

Destress and Decompress: Have a quiet space for your pets

Holiday celebrations can be over stimulating for pets. MDARD says it's important to have a quiet space set aside for pets to go if they get stressed. MDARD suggests stocking the room with their food, water, litter pan, etc. in case they want to maintain their distance for an extended time.

Spread Only Joy: Keep pets away if you are sick

A cat and a dog in Michigan were confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 in humans. MDARD says both animals became ill through close contact with their owners after contracting COVID-19. MDARD says if you or a member of your household suspects or tests positive for COVID-19, protect your pet by avoiding direct contact with them. MDARD says you should wear a mask if you are unable to avoid direct contact with your pet.