Officials urge serious thought before giving pets as gifts

SPRINGFIELD — If you want to get your child or loved one a puppy as a holiday gift, officials with one Springfield-area organization say think about it first.

(Credit: Comstock Images)
(Credit: Comstock Images)

Deb Bonner with the local Animal Protection League says like with other gifts, you need to think about the responsibility that comes with owning a pet.

“Make sure everybody in the house is on board with the idea,” says Bonner. “It’s a long-term commitment. A cat will live…18, 19, 20 years. Dogs…are anywhere from 10 to 20 years. If you’re getting a puppy, it’s a long-term commitment.”

That said, Bonner says shelters like hers have plenty of dogs and cats up for adoption these days.

If you already have a pet, Bonner says it can be funny if the cat eats the tinsel on the tree, given the end result, but that’s just one of many potential safety concerns for pets at the holidays.

“There are a lot of holiday plants that are toxic to plants — [for example] poinsettias,” says Bonner. “You want to be careful. If you do have those, just make sure they’re up and out of the way so your pet can’t munch on them. If your pet does, then you probably want to call your vet and see what your next step is going to be.”

Another problem for pets, Bonner says, glass snow globes. She says many have antifreeze in them, which may taste sweet to a dog or cat, but is also incredibly toxic, and could be fatal.