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Share the love this holiday by keeping animals happy and healthy

MDARD provides tips for keeping their animals safe this Valentine's Day

LANSING, MI—As Michiganders prepare to celebrate Valentine s Day, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) would like to remind owners of some of the best ways to share the love by keeping their animals healthy and safe.

"One of the best ways to show our pets some love this holiday is to make sure they don't have any additional stress or discomfort,"  said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. "From ensuring they are fully vaccinated to making sure they don t eat any unsafe treats, there are many precautions owners can take to keep their animals healthy this Valentine's Day."

Keep animals safe this holiday by following these five easy tips:

  • Treat them Right: Avoid feeding animals chocolate or other candy.

While it may be tempting to share a sweet treat with your animal, they cannot enjoy all the same foods we do. Any type of chocolate or treat sweetened with xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum) can be poisonous to animals. Instead of these sweets, stick to their normal treats.

  • Avoid Temptations: Keep holiday decorations out of reach.

Gift wrap, ribbons, and balloons can make a celebration special, but they can also catch the eye of our pets. If consumed, these items could cause intestinal blockages or other injuries. Be sure these items are out of their reach, along with candles as curious paws and excited tails should not be near an open-flame unsupervised.

  • Build a Better Bouquet: Make sure all arrangements are pet friendly.

Whether flowers and plants are given as a gift or used as a decoration, not all of these plants are safe for your animals. Flowers with thorns (like roses) can cause injury if bitten, swallowed, or stepped on; and certain floral varieties (like lilies, chrysanthemums, and tulips) can be dangerous for pets if they are ingested. Keep these items away from pets and make arrangements with plants that are not toxic to animals.

  • Share the Love, Not the Germs: Keep animals up to date on routine vaccinations.

Vaccinations are central to animals' preventative care as the vaccines can protect them against common diseases, such as rabies and distemper. Contact your veterinarian to ensure your animals vaccinations are complete and/or to schedule an appointment.

  • Be a Secret Admirer: Consider donating to the Animal Welfare Fund.

Not every animal has someone to be their Valentine as many are waiting at one of Michigan's 209 registered animal shelters for their fur-ever home. When generous Michiganders check the Animal Welfare Fund's box on Form 4642, Voluntary Contributions Schedule, on their state tax returns, one hundred percent of the contributions go directly to these shelters to help them better care for local animals and support their broader community.

Consider donating to the fund to keep the good going by continuing to protect local animals and increasing their chances of adoption into a loving home. 

These tips can help keep your animals safe and healthy throughout the holiday. If there are ever any concerns about your animals'  health now or throughout the year, please talk to your veterinarian.


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