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MDARD Encourages Owners to Help Keep Pets Safe this Spring Holiday Season

Following a few easy tips can help ensure you have a healthy, happy celebration with your pets

LANSING, MI— As Michiganders prepare to celebrate this spring holiday season, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding owners of some of the best ways to keep their pets healthy and safe.

“Spring holiday celebrations are filled with food, family, and loved ones—including our pets. It is important to consider their needs as we plan our festivities,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “From keeping them away from eating chocolate and candy to ensuring they have a quiet space to destress, there are many actions we can take to make sure they have a safe holiday.”

Keep pets safe this spring holiday season by following these six easy tips:

Happy Tummies: Avoid feeding pets people foods
Unfortunately, pets cannot enjoy all of the same foods and treats we do. Foods not specifically formulated for pets should be avoided as they could cause pancreatitis—even when consumed in small amounts. Also, be sure to keep candy and other sweets containing chocolate, raisins, and/or xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum) away from pets as these ingredients can be hazardous.

Avoid Temptations: Keep Easter grass and other holiday decorations out of reach
Brightly colored plastic Easter grass or other basket fillers may make for a beautiful presentation, but it can also catch the eye of our pets. If consumed, the filler could cause intestinal blockages or other injuries. Be sure to remove filler from baskets completely or at least keep the baskets out of a pet’s reach, along with candles, lights, plastic eggs/toys, and some festive flowers/plants—especially Easter lilies as these are highly toxic to cats.  

Go Natural: Save the dye for eggs—not pets
As a reminder, in Michigan, it is illegal to sell baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl or game that have been dyed or artificially colored (Public Act 163 of 1945). Violating this law is a misdemeanor, so keep animals their natural color.

Search No More: Make sure pets have proper identification
With all the holiday activity, pets can easily sneak out and get lost. Make sure pets have identification tags and microchips updated with your current contact information to ensure they can be returned home.

Destress and Decompress: Have a quiet space for your pets
Any holiday celebration can be loud and overly stimulating for pets. So, it is important to have a quiet space set aside for them to go if they are getting too stressed. Also, have the room stocked with their food, water, litter pan, etc. in case they want to maintain their distance for an extended period of time.

More Than Novelties: Bunnies and chicks are fur-ever pets
While it may be tempting to surprise someone with a real bunny, chick, or duckling this holiday, it is important to remember these animals are long-term pets, often requiring specialized care and feed. Many people feel unprepared to properly care for one of these animals and hand them over to local animal control or an animal shelter. Opt for gifting someone a stuffed or chocolate animal instead.

These tips can help you and your pets have an egg-cellent and safe holiday. If there are ever any concerns about your pets’ health now or beyond the spring holiday season, please talk to your veterinarian.


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