Dog Days of December

Season's greetings! While the cold holiday season brings up a lot of topics pertaining to our fluffy, four-legged friends, we only have time to go over a few.

To those looking out for the beautiful pets they already own
To all you cheery readers who already have pets, there are some precautions to take and treats to avoid in order to keep our pets happy and healthy. For 1, we need to consider table scraps: bones and gristle from Christmas dinner, especially poultry bones, can splinter when your pet chews on or swallows them, causing internal damage. Christmas treats like chocolate and other classic sweets can be toxic and cause your animal to be dangerously ill. When it comes to ornaments, those of us who may have playful cats may want to try to avoid breakable decorations. Putting plants and scents around your home is a lovely way to brighten up the place and make it feel merry, but plants such as mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper, and Christmas rose can be toxic to your pets. It's still a lovely idea t decorate your home with these beautiful arrangements, they're just better kept out of reach of pets. Tinsel and Angelhair, if ingested, can cause intestinal issues and the chemicals used in the water reservoir for your Christmas tree, if you have a live one, is toxic to your pets. Absolutely none of this means you can't celebrate the season with your family's traditions, these are just a couple extra ways to look out for those furry or feathered family members.

To those of us concerned about the animals outside
It's very common for us to see posts on social media that say"if you're cold, they're cold: let them in." While it is important to allow your own animals in, we also need to keep in mind the animals that may not have homes. There are any strays out there, and, unfortunately, there's not always the availability or possibility of letting them in. There are other ways to look out for our outside friends. If you have strays in your yard and you so choose, leaving a bowl of food or setting out a reasonably priced dog or cat igloo is an easy way to offer some comfort to these animals without putting yourself in a compromising position. While many strays are not aggressive, there are still occasionally, sadly, animals that may show fear-based aggression or who may be sick. If there is an animal like this in your yard and you're afraid of it harming you or your family, Rice County has its own animal rescue resource: call Rescue 55021 at 507-838-1661

To those of us thinking about buying or adopting a new pet this holiday season
While bringing in a new pet to your family is joyous and exciting and fun, it's also a lot of responsibility. How generous of you to open your home to a new puppy or kitten or bird, etc. However, in the excitement and merriment of the season, it's easy to forget that this animal has a lifespan of at least 9 years. These animals could get sick and need to go to the vet, they need to be trained, they need to be loved and cared for, fed, cleaned up after, and everything else you can imagine. If this is something you're ready for—congratulations! Enjoy the lovely new family member! However, if you're unsure, it's something you should put more thought into before buying that leash and collar and, more importantly, before adopting that new friend.