5 tips to safeguard your pets this holiday season

Wolfie got his Christmas wish! On Christmas Eve, he will be moving in with his new furever family. Email rescue@shywolfsanctuary.org to learn more about fostering or adopting rescued animals.

While Americans are making plans to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center reminds the community to protect their furry family members too. With a few easy steps, stressful and dangerous situations can be avoided to make the celebration more enjoyable.


Keep decorations and wrapping paper out of reach. Tinsel, ribbon, metal hooks, and batteries make appealing and potentially life-threatening toys if ingested. Display decorations on shelves that your pets can’t reach and promptly store unused wrapping supplies. Christmas lights can also be taped to the wall to minimize the risk of shock from chewing on the electrical cords.


Avoid sharing sweet treats and people food. Though you may indulge in an extra dessert and rich foods, they may make your pet sick. Many people know that chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but scraps of meat and turkey skin can carry harmful bacteria that trigger intestinal distress too. Cooked bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard or require emergency surgery. Common fruits and vegetables like grapes and onions may also cause illness.  Xylitol is a hidden no-fat sweetener often found in soda, gum, and even peanut butter, that can cause immediate seizures and even death. Letting your guests know about your intention to keep your pet on its regular diet will also reduce the chance of holidays being spoiled by illness or emergency vet trips.


Plants may become toxic treats. If your pet likes to chew on plants, it would be wise to avoid traditional holiday plants that are known to be toxic to animals. According to Pet MD, poinsettias may be irritating to a pet’s mouth and esophagus, but it would take a large amount of the plant to cause death. Holly and mistletoe have greater toxicity and may trigger seizures or death. Lilies, daffodils, and amaryllis present the greatest risk of toxicity to your pet.


Watch for signs of stress in your pet. While you may enjoy the extra lights, sounds, and time with friends over the holidays, it may be too much for your dog or cat. He or she may give verbal or physical signs of feeling threatened. These could include growling, hissing, lip curls, hiding, pinning ears, or rolling “whale” eyes.  You can minimize risk of bites by ensuring that your pet has a quiet and safe place to retreat, where people won’t follow.


Don’t give a pet as a present. Leading up to the holidays, there is an increase in pet adoptions as “gifts”. That is followed by a rise in pet surrenders following the holiday season. Many times, the gift recipient isn’t prepared for the commitment to provide a forever home, or the animal’s specific personality isn’t a good fit. For those really wanting to give a pet, it is better to give a stuffed animal as a promise to pick out a pet together. This will help the intended owner select a pet that is best suited for their lifestyle.


Another opportunity to test the compatibility of an animal is to foster animals that are looking for their forever homes. Many rescue organizations such as Shy Wolf Sanctuary have foster programs to provide care for emergency rescues of pet-quality animals, when space is limited. Wolfdogs have a variety of character traits and some have been socialized with smaller pets. Sanctuary staff and volunteers work closely with foster families and potential adopters to ensure they are prepared for the commitment they are making.


For more information, email rescue@shywolfsanctuary.org or visit www.ShyWolfSanctuary.org.




About Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center was founded in 1993. Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in January 2001, Shy Wolf strives to educate people about captive-bred exotic animal rescue while helping animals in need. Shy Wolf Sanctuary has rescued over 1300 animals and provided valuable educational experiences to tens of thousands of human visitors from around the world.


Shy Wolf Sanctuary’s current facility has reached capacity, so the organization is expanding in Southwest Florida. Its vision is to revolutionize captive animal care, particularly in disaster planning and education, while providing a place of hope and healing for all that enter the gates. Through animal encounters and immersive educational programs, Shy Wolf Sanctuary hopes to inspire visitors to take ongoing action to protect wildlife and the sensitive environment by spreading kindness and compassion to the greater community.


For more information, visit www.ShyWolfSanctuary.org.