Joy To The World, And Our Pets

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ASPCA Offers Alternatives to Pet Store Purchases; Reminds Pet Owners How to Keep Cats and Dogs Happy, Healthy this Holiday Season.

Pets can be our most loyal companions, providing us with unconditional love

The holidays are here, and the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) would like to remind pet lovers how to make wise choices when considering adding a furry family member to their household, as well as how to keep pets safe and healthy this holiday season.

"Pets can be our most loyal companions, providing us with unconditional love," said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. "At the ASPCA, we understand this bond and hope that potential pet parents consider adoption their best option. Local animal shelters offer many choices, whether your preference is dog or cat, small or large, purebred or lovable mutt. If you're ready to make the commitment, then adopting an animal in need, and receiving that animal's unconditional love, is truly a gift for any holiday."

Many families may purchase a new puppy from a pet store, the newspaper, or even online, but the ASPCA warns that it is extremely likely such dogs are the products of puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills can suffer from a variety of ailments such as respiratory infections and pneumonia, or hereditary defects like hip dysplasia. They may also be poorly socialized to people and other animals.Most importantly, when considering a specific breed, please consider that responsible breeders do not sell their dogs through pet stores, but invite their customers to visit their facility and meet their animals in a comfortable environment to guarantee the safety of their dogs, as well as take lifetime responsibility for the animals they have bred.

For those who want to give a pet as a gift, the ASPCA, along with many animal shelters around the country, offer gift certificates that allow the recipient to choose the pet of their choice. The ASPCA's Pet Adoption Center in Manhattan offers a "Gift-A-Pet" certificate that allows the giver to pay the adoption fee of a cat or kitten for a loved one, and the recipient then selects the furry friend that's best for them. "This is a popular alternative for well-intentioned gift-givers," says Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center, Gail Buchwald. "We advise all families to be extremely involved in the adoption of any cat or dog, as it provides the greatest opportunity for success."

Finally, once your new pet is home, the ASPCA offers these reminders for keeping them safe and healthy during the holidays.

  •     No Sweets for These Sweets. Holiday sweets are not for pets. Chocolate is one of the most common poisonous to many animals. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog. Also, candies and gum containing large amounts of the sweetener xylitol can also be toxic to pets. Ingestion of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures.
  •     Leftovers Should be Left ALONE. Don't give pets holiday leftovers, and keep pets out of the garbage. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages; Greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause stomach upset; spoiled or moldy foods could cause food poisoning, tremors or seizures.
  •     Drinking and Dogs Do Not Mix. Place unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot reach them. If ingested, the animal could become very sick and weak and may go into a coma and in severe cases can result in death.
  •     No Love Under This Mistletoe. Common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can cause gastrointestinal upsets and cardiovascular problems. Poinsettias are considered to be very low in toxicity and could cause mild vomiting or nausea if ingested by your pet.
  •     Protect Your Pet, Protect Your Tree. Keep pets away from Christmas tree water. The water may contain fertilizers which, if ingested, can cause a stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria and if ingested a pet could end up with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Consider decorating your tree with ornaments that are relatively less enticing to pets, such as dried non-toxic flowers, wood, fabric or pinecones. Traditional decorations such as ribbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed.

For more holiday safety tips, visit and don't miss our video hosted by Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

The ASPCA extends its good wishes to its many supporters and pet lovers this holiday season.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:
Amy Geduldig
(212) 876-7700 x 4567


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