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Don't Forget Your Four-Footed Family Members This Holiday Season

cat-and-dog1With the holiday season now upon us, filled with hustle and bustle, shopping, and celebrating, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) would like to offer pet owners a few holiday tips to keep in mind.

“We can get so caught up with all of the holiday festivities, but let’s not forget about our four -legged family members.  Our pets rely on us to keep them safe, so keep these tips in mind as you celebrate this holiday season,” said DACC Director, Marcia Mayeda.

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In addition, on Saturday, "Whisker Wonderland" will take place at the Castaic shelter, as well as all other L.A. County and Los Angeles City shelters (some smaller cities are also participating, click here for details) where from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., dogs and cats will be available for adoption with reduced fees (there's a 2-for-1 cat special that includes shots and their spay/neuter) for all animals going home for the holidays.

This is the largest single-day pet adoption event in California; organized by the Found Animals Foundation, last year's event resulted in 439 animals finding homes; this year, the group is aiming to place 500 animals. Along with the animals, those adopting will also get a free pet bed from Ortho Mattress, product samples and new pet owner guides. Castaic shelter is located at 31044 Charlie Canyon Road in Castaic.

The shelter and its volunteers are there to serve you throughout the year, and are offering the following safety tips for four-legged friends during the holidays:

* Never feed or allow your pets to eat chocolate or other holiday candies. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats and can cause death. If you witness or suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, transport them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

* Shiny ornaments on Christmas trees can be particularly attractive to curious pets.  Dogs and cats can suffer serious injuries by chewing and swallowing pieces of tree ornaments.

* Many people add special liquid preservatives to the water in Christmas tree stands. Some of these products are harmful to pets that may drink from the water. Be sure to ask if your Christmas tree is “pet safe,” before you buy it.

* Keep holiday season plants and flowers away from your pets.  Many plants, such as Poinsettias, Christmas candles, English Holly, Christmas Berry, Christmas Rose, and Mistletoe are poisonous to cats and dogs.

* Gift-wrappings can pose risks to dogs and cats. Your pets may be tempted to chew on wrapping paper or ribbon, which can be harmful if swallowed.

* Electrical wiring is tempting for cats to play with and dogs to chew. Your pet can suffer a severe shock or even be electrocuted by coming into contact with the electrical current in the line.  Make sure your pets cannot or climb onto areas that put wiring within their reach.

* Turkey is a particular favorite during the holiday season, but the bones easily splinter and should not be given to pets. Bone splinters can puncture an animal’s gastro-intestinal tract, causing internal injury, which could result in death.

* Keep your pets away from alcoholic beverages.  Do not let anyone offer a “sample” of your favorite libation to a pet.

In addition to ensuring your pet’s safety, DACC would also like to advise the public of its holiday hours for the remainder of 2011:

  • Christmas Eve - Saturday, December 24.: All DACC locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Christmas Day and the day after Christmas - Sunday, Dec. 25 and Monday, Dec. 26): All DACC facilities will be open for limited operations.  Residents may only relinquish animals or pick-up their impounded pet if it is determined to be at the shelter.  The facilities will not be open for adoptions.
  • New Year’s Eve - Saturday, December 31: All DACC locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s - Sunday, Jan. 1 and Monday, Jan. 2: All DACC facilities will be open for limited operations. Residents may only relinquish animals or pick-up their impounded pet if it is determined to be at the shelter.  The facilities will not be open for adoptions.

Regular business hours will commence on Tuesday, January 3 at noon.  Contact your local animal care center or visit our website for more information.