Safely Sharing Thanksgiving With Your Pets

by Kimberly Wade

I think by now you all know that I consider my pets family, as does everyone at Nevada Humane Society. Celebrating the holidays with them is simply second nature—and it should be! We all love to show our pets our appreciation during the holidays, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought it was appropriate for some gentle reminders about keeping our pets safe.

Food Safety

Thanksgiving may be one great meal, but there are certain things you shouldn’t feed dogs and cats:

  • Turkey bones, or other bones that could splinter
  • Onions, garlic, walnuts and macadamia nuts
  • Some mushrooms are bad for pets, though to be safe, avoid all mushrooms
  • Raw bread dough, nutmeg and sage
  • Alcohol and chocolate (most sweets, actually)

On the plus side, what that you can share (in moderation) includes:

  • White-meat turkey (no skin or bones) and mashed potatoes (no butter or gravy)
  • Raw apple slices and corn
  • Cranberries, peas and green beans are excellent for dogs!
  • Pumpkin, plain or cooked, is excellent for both cats and dogs—and has other health benefits when it comes to #2 potty behavior!

Other Holiday Safety Tips

Guard the trash! We know the trash will be filled with all of those no-no’s from above, which means it’ll smell pretty tasty to any animal. Take it out as soon as you’re done with it to prevent any mishaps.

Give Pets a Getaway

Having a house full of guests may be stressful, especially if your pets aren’t super social. Have a private room set aside for them with their toys and beds, calming music or TV.

Check ID

Those same guests may not be familiar with your pets, so not only do you want to be sure they don’t accidently let anyone outside, but be sure your pets are all microchipped (and that the chip is registered with up to date info) and tagged, so that if they do get out, you can easily identify them. You can also do what my husband and I do—the door stays locked and when the doorbell rings, we personally answer the door and hold off our pets until our guests are safely inside. All of our fur-kids are social, so we keep a close eye on humans and pets alike to prevent disaster.

Thanksgiving is meant to be shared among those you love. So go ahead, include your pets, but be safe about it.

One more thing. Nevada Humane Society is closed Thanksgiving Day, so from all of our four-legged family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget about Giving Tuesday, November 28, where we ask that you give back (after a major shopping weekend—that was for you, and this is for the animals) to us, to help our homeless pets.

Upcoming Events: Bring your pet for photos with Santa Paws, Friday, December 8 from 4 to 6pm, and Saturday, December 9, from 10am to 4pm at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Photos are $10 each and all proceeds benefit homeless pets. It will be busy, so patience is key, but we promise it’s a great time! Cupcake Day is also on December 9, where you can sample one or take home a dozen for a small donation.



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Friends With Benefits

by Kimberly Wade

Social support is essential for our overall well-being, but are people the only source for this? Or could a pet possibly fulfill social needs, adding to your happiness, emotional and physical health? Studies are proving what we already knew—the answer is yes!

As someone with almost 8 years of experience in animal welfare, and a lifetime of being around and caring for pets, I can easily say pets enhance my life on so many levels. From the unconditional love no matter what stressful situation is upon me, to the reminder that physical exercise is needed, to simple cuddles on the couch—there is no doubt that pets bring a sense of fulfillment to my life, the lives of those around me, and even, each other.

Studies show pet owners exhibit greater self-esteem, are more physically fit, are less lonely, more conscientious, more socially outgoing and lived an overall healthier lifestyle. They also show that interestingly enough, pet owners say their pets provide them as much support as their human family!

Even more detail tells us that pets provide a greater sense of belongingness (think about how happy you are to come home to that wagging tail), existence (we are more aware of our surroundings with pets in our lives), control (how many times have you had to curb your liquid intake because you had to be able to drive home and care for your fur-kids?) and self-esteem. Think about it. Pet owners are less likely to be depressed because of that unconditional love and support. If you don’t have a big human social circle, pets still allow you to go out and have fun—with them! And let’s be honest. I know I’m not the only one who has full on conversations with my four-legged family.

The other big piece to the benefits of having pets is an overall reduction of stress. Yes, we all still encounter tough times, but if you had a bad day at work, or fought with your significant other, how often do you turn to your pets? That tail wagging, butt-shaking, goofy smile your dog gives you upon coming home always makes you smile. That fight that brought you down seems a little less when your cat curls up in your lap and purrs, giving you that calming presence you need to get through things. At Nevada Humane Society, we have office cats—and while sometimes their assistance at sending incomplete emails or hanging up the phone on an important donor isn’t appreciated, they always reduce stress levels. They remind us of our lifesaving mission and that the bigger picture is usually more important than the little things. Honestly, my two office cats, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati, have been with me for 6 years and I can’t imagine them not being there.

So whether you’re currently experiencing stress, or maybe you’re looking forward to that resolution of getting healthy, having pets in your life will help. So come on down to Nevada Humane Society (two locations—2825 Longley Lane in Reno and 549 Airport Road in Carson City) and meet some of our adoptable dogs and cats. They’ll start by making your current life better, and then add to your future, to give you a brighter, happier, overall sense of well-being.

Upcoming Events: Get your holiday shopping done at the annual Home 4 the Holidays Craft Fair Saturday, November 18 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. It’ll take place at Nevada Humane Society at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Admission is free.

Featured Pet: In honor of November being Adopt a Senior Pet Month, I’m Stitch! I’m a big cat with a big personality and a confident character. I have the cutest little meow and if you have a treat, I’ll be by your side in a heartbeat! I know, I could use a hair stylist and exercise, but really, bigger is truly better in my book—don’t you agree? Go big and take me home today!

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

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Busting the Halloween Myth

by Kimberly Wade

Each year, Halloween puts black cats in the spotlight. There are superstitions that they bring bad luck, and rumors that they possess evil spirits. Some believe that others adopt them to be used in unmentionable cult rituals. As an animal welfare professional, I can assure you that all of that is just talk. It’s no longer the 1600s folks. People are good!

Nevada Humane Society, along with many other successful shelters, see nothing but success with black cat adoptions. We all know that in order to find our four-legged friends loving homes, we need to be professional enough to screen potential adopters and evaluate the home life to ensure the animal is adopted into a great family. I can personally attest to the fact that most people adore animals and deserve a companion. I’ve heard how happy they are, how grateful they are, and how appreciative they are that we helped them find true love. I’ve seen photos and read testimonies of success stories… from all adopters, including those who adopt black pets.

The truth is, there is no hard evidence that adopting black cats around Halloween poses any greater risk than adopting any other time of year. In 2007, National Geographic penned an article that was titled “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.” Over the years, experts on Halloween and cults have found “no confirmed statistics, court cases, or studies to support the idea that serious satanic cult crime events exists.” But we all know that myths die hard, especially with impressionable minds and social media.

There is evidence however, that not adopting cats from shelters will cost them their lives—don’t worry, that’s not the case in Washoe County or Carson City. Yet, in cities where there are no lifesaving shelters, when you make the black cats unavailable, you take away their chance to find a home. This can force these cats to end up on a euthanasia list. Hard to hear, I know, but true in many cases (I repeat, not true locally). Wouldn’t you rather give these cats the chance to find love? And why would anyone come to a shelter and pay money to adopt a microchipped pet that we can trace back to them if they really had bad intentions?

Nevada Humane Society is smart. We are professionals. We know what to look for during our conversations with potential adopters. We are never going to just give an animal away or pair a pet with a family that is not going to properly care for them. Our goal is to find loving homes for our animals regardless of whether it is Halloween or any other holiday.

Here’s something else. The truth is that black cats have been viewed as luck bringers and guardians over many centuries and in many cultures. They have been viewed as sacred and are known to bless a home, and to many, black is the color of protection.

The next time that a truism rolls off your tongue in defense, think about whether it is fact or fiction, and think about who you may hurt by simply following the crowd instead of educating them.

*Animal welfare experts include Maddie’s Fund, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and UC Davis, all of whom have conducted various studies over the years on adopting black cats at Halloween.

Upcoming Events: Bring the kids in costume for Safe Trick-or-Treating at Nevada Humane Society on Halloween Night! Happening at both our Reno and Carson City shelters, this costumed, candy giving event takes place from 4pm to 6:30pm. P.S. If you can donate a bag or two of individually wrapped candy to help us feed the kids, we would appreciate it! Drop off to NHS at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno between 11am and 6:30pm this weekend.

Featured Pet: Billy and Buddy are 7 and 9, and are BFFs. Both are sweet but shy, with a dream of nothing more than curling up on your couch and enjoying a good movie (with dog treats). Buddy was born with a unique paw, and though he isn’t able to fully use it, it doesn’t slow him down. He’s just different, and we know he deserves love too. Won’t you meet this dynamic duo today? They’re available for adoption at Nevada Humane Society in Reno.Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

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