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Don’t give beer, snacks to your pets at game time

By Kathy Antoniotti
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Whether you are a football fan or not, folks always look forward to parties on Super Bowl Sunday. But the get-togethers, where calorie-laden, rich food and alcohol may be served, may cause confusion and outright fear in your pets.

No matter how social your pets are, they won’t understand the yelling, cheering and boisterous behavior that generally accompanies the game — especially if it is alcohol driven.

Often, pet parents, who normally would not feed their animals snacks filled with fat, salt and other things that aren’t good for them, will not realize when a well-meaning friend slips the pet a treat that gives the pet digestive trouble.

And, no matter how much you like beer, giving it to your pet is animal abuse. You might as well be giving it poison. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center, alcohol can cause your pet to experience vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and death.

Animal behaviorist Dr. Debra Horwitz of St. Louis and “America’s Veterinarian” Dr. Marty Becker, have partnered with Petco to come up with a few additional tips to help your pet make it through the festivities unscathed.

• During halftime, record the commercials and walk your dog around the block or take a run to the nearest dog park for a little exercise. And for those worried about missing the second half of the game, stay close to home with a game of fetch in the yard.

• Fans will consume some 11 million pounds of chips and 450 million chicken wings on game day, which makes this America’s second-biggest food consuming day of the year behind Thanksgiving. Guests may be tempted to sneak these fattening foods to pets, but people food can be harmful, particularly chicken wings, on which pets can choke. Offer them healthy, pet-specific treats.

• When the action gets intense and fans are on the edge of their seats, take a moment to pet a furry friend. Giving a pet love strengthens the human-animal bond, provides for a pet’s emotional health needs and benefits the giver. Studies show the hormone oxytocin kicks into high gear when petting an animal, helping to reduce blood pressure and decrease cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety. And if you’re depressed because your team is on the losing end, therapists have been prescribing pets for years as a way to deal with depression.

• Create a quiet place. Loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious. Even well-socialized animals are likely to be pushed beyond their limits. To take care of your pet’s mental health, make sure the pet has a restful room or area in which to retreat.

For more information on caring for a pet’s physical, mental, social and emotional health, visit: www.petco.com/wholepets.

Oh, and if you still think your dog or cat, hamster or chinchilla needs to drink along with partygoers, water is your best bet. Granted, there are nonalcoholic beers made especially for man’s best friend, but try as I might, I fail to see what sophomoric mind would think they are a good idea.

Products for pets

While I do not normally recommend specific items, after dealing with snow, ice and salt on the streets, sidewalks and driveways this winter, I found a product to soothe my dogs’ paws that does not cause stomach upset as almost every skin salve I’ve used in the past. Emily Furry Friend Skin Sootherhas no additives, preservatives, scents, colorants or anything artificial. The product is available at pet retailers or online at www.emilyskinsoothers.com.

Also, for those of you keeping an outdoor cat safe during the winter months, Cozy Winters has an outdoor heated cat pad recommended for feral and outdoor cats. The pad, available online at http://cozywinters.com/shop/kh-3093.html is recommended by veterinarians for post-surgery convalescence and to comfort older and arthritic cats.

Other animal news

 You Can’t Buy Love … But You Can Adopt It! — Adoption event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Humane Society of Greater Akron, 7996 Darrow Road, Twinsburg. Adoption fee for all cats and kittens 6 months and older is $5, and all dogs and puppies over the age of 6 months are $55 (upon application approval). The price includes spay/neuter procedure, age-appropriate vaccines, micro-chip and a 30-day free trial of pet insurance through 24Pet Watch Pet Insurance. www.summithumane.org for more information.

Zoorific Career Days ­— The Akron Zoo is offering fifth- through 12th-grade students a chance to be a zoo professional for a day. Zoorific Career Days will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on various days in March and April. Participants will spend time with zookeepers, animal trainers and education staff members to learn what it is like to work at a zoo. Registration is required. $40 per student. Register online at www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550.

Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.


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