Pets & Animal

Helen Woodward Animal Center shares holiday pet safety tips and gifts for your pet –

RANCHO SANTA FE (KUSI) – The chill in the air, along with the current restrictions on gatherings involving friends and extended family, means our beloved pets will serve an important need this winter season.

Helen Woodward Animal Center reminds the community to keep pets safe this season and to consider making holiday gift purchases that will and save lives too.


• Holiday Decorations can pose a problem for pets curious about new items in the house. Each winter, veterinarians report an alarming number of cats ingesting shiny holiday décor such as tinsel and ribbon which may cause intestinal blockage and require surgery. Christmas ornaments and cords from Christmas lights also pose a severe chewing and electrocution hazard to family dogs and cats.
• Holiday Plants look lovely during the winter season, but they can be harmful to our furry family members. Both American and European mistletoe leaves, berries, and stems are toxic to pets and ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and seizures.
Though less serious, ingestion of large quantities of holly or poinsettias may also lead to gastrointestinal upset.
The water at the base of a fresh cut Christmas tree often includes chemicals to keep the tree fresh. These chemicals are toxic to pets when ingested and should be avoided at all costs.
Additionally, cats and dogs will often chew on fresh Christmas trees and pine needles which may get stuck in their throats or even perforate or pierce through the intestines causing peritonitis.
• Rich Holiday Human Foods can cause upset stomachs in our pets when given in excess as treats but the following are actually toxic and need to be kept away from furry mouths: Macadamia nuts, Chocolate, Onions, Grapes, Raisins, Dried cranberries or craisins, Garlic, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Raw bread dough.
• Snow poses another danger for those traveling with their pets over the holidays. Make sure you check your pets’ feet for signs of frostbite or for ice balls trapped in the fur between the toes. In areas that snow regularly, road crews often put rock salt down to melt the ice which can get on the paws and fur of pets and create salt toxicity when licked off.

This holiday season you can give a gift that saves lives. With 13 unique programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center all supporting the mission of “people helping animals and animal helping people,” there’s something perfect for every animal-lover!


• Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 2021 Superhero Sidekicks Calendar makes a great gift for any pet-lover in your life. Featuring a SUPER adorable pet for every month of the year, the calendar also supports the orphan pets at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Purchase now for just $18!
• Heart for Rescue T-Shirts are the perfect gift for a special someone with a heart for rescue animals. Part of Helen Woodward Animal Center’s official merchandise, these fashionable tees come in a variety of colors, styles and sizes for under $30! Check them out!
• A CLUB PET Doggie Daycare Experience is a perfect gift for the loving pet owner in your life. Club Pet is the place your pet wants to be when they can’t be with you and a variety of bundles are available to make sure all pets have the time of their lives. Call our front desk directly to purchase your gift at (858)756-4117 ext. 2 and learn more about us here.
• Helen Woodward Animal Center Alternative Holiday Gift Card is a gift that saves a life. Make a donation in honor of your favorite animal-lover. We’ll send the recipient a digital card letting them know that a gift in their name is helping to save the lives of orphan pets at the Center. Get your gift card here.
• A $25 Orphaned Objects Resale Shop Gift Card sparks joy and helps orphan pets! Shop designer styles and home furnishings at a great price! All sales benefit the orphan pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Come visit the shop to purchase your gift card today.
• A Critter Be a Vet Experience is the gift of a hands on animal interaction for kids! Boys and girls between the ages of 9-16 will have a blast at You Can Be a Veterinarian Camp, which offers a rare opportunity to practice veterinary skills, interact with animals and gain experience with medical equipment. Contact Humane Education at 858-756-4117 ext. 318 or click here to learn more.