The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends

Preparing Your Pets for Fourth of July Fireworks

Fourth of July weekend is here! Are you prepared to have a fun, safe holiday weekend with your pets? Here are five ways to keep your pets happy on this Independence Day weekend:

1. Keep your pet inside.

The easiest way to prevent your pets from getting lost this Independence Day is to keep them inside. If you are having a big party or just a small get-together with friends, make sure someone is always aware of where your pets are. If you know that your cat or dog likes to run out the door the first chance it gets, consider putting them into their kennel for the duration of the party or get-together.

2. Check your pet’s collar for accurate identification information.

Did you know that more pets get lost on the July 4th holiday than any other day of the year? Now is a great time to update your pet’s ID tags with accurate information. Include your name, your pet’s name and a current phone number on your pet’s ID tag. Even better, have your pet micro-chipped, which increases your chances of finding your pet if they become lost.

heat-safety-week3. Keep all alcoholic beverages away from your pets.

Independence day celebrations usually include the three B’s: BBQs, beach and booze. Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach from your pet at all times. Even a small amount of alcohol can do damage. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, call your vet immediately.

4. Keep all flammable objects away from your pets.

Charcoal from the BBQ pit. Sparklers for the kids. A fire to roast marshmallows. Keep your pets away from all types of open flames or heat sources, including BBQ pits, fire pits and even sparklers. Encourage your guests to play with your pets away from any flames.

5. Keep your pets distracted during the fireworks.

While fireworks can be fun to humans, these spectacles are just loud and sometimes scary noises to your pets. The best way to help your pets get through a night of fireworks is to distract them. Turn your television on low to help drown out any firework noise, and offer treats to help keep them busy, such as a squirrel dude stuffed with frozen pet-safe peanut butter. Give your cats a new toy to play with, or a new post to scratch.

From all of us at the Houston SPCA, we hope you have a fantastic Fourth of July weekend!

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any ailment or disease, and is provided for reference. Please consult with your veterinarian with questions or concerns related to heat safety.

Houston SPCA Summer Heat Safety Week

Founded in 1924, the Houston SPCA provides the most comprehensive array of animal adoption, shelter, rescue, rehabilitation and other programs and services in the Gulf Coast area. Check out all of our adoptable animals and consider the adoption option this summer.

Thank You for Supporting the Houston SPCA’s Mission – Make a Donation!


Houston SPCA Thanksgiving Throwback!

Thanksgiving 2014 is tomorrow and we want to make sure that you and your family are keeping your pets happy and safe this holiday season.

Even if your pets offer to help you cook – let them relax today while you make your family’s feast purrfect!

And even if you really want to give them some of the delicious human foods or table scraps, make sure that you are keeping your pets safe!

For even more awesome Thanksgiving pet tips from the Houston SPCA, check out last year’s Thanksgiving post:!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Houston SPCA Throwback Thursday – Halloween Pet Safety Tips!

It’s our first throwback Thursday here at the Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog!

Today we are going to take a look back at our Halloween Pet Safety Tips just in time for October 31st.

Make sure to keep your pets safe by checking out all of our safety recommendations from last year’s Halloween post:

Happy Halloween from the Houston SPCA!

For more information about the Houston SPCA, check out today!


1 Comment

We wish you a pet-safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The holidays are right around the corner and we are here to share a few more tips from the Houston SPCA on keeping your winter traditions pet-safe and fun!

We had lots of excellent tips on keeping the holidays pet-safe from our previous post on having a pet-safe Thanksgiving ( – keep all of those tips in mind when celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Here are a few more tips on how to keep your pets safe and happy while celebrating this season.

Some plants are dangerous!

Dog Cat Mistletoe

Do we really have to?

We all love to decorate our homes during this time of year but be aware of the various plants that can be toxic to your pet if ingested. The toxicity ranges from mild to severe but if you think your pet has eaten any of your gorgeous plants this season, call the vet right away for a consultation or take them to an emergency vet clinic.

Here is a short list of some toxic holiday plants:

Baby’s Breath

Calla Lily






Fir tree(also known as your Christmas tree)

Symptoms of your pet eating something toxic: weakness, trembling, staggering, panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, cramps, convulsions, or rigid neck and limbs. Seek immediate medical attention for your pet if they show any of these symptoms!

Wrapping paper, tissue paper, and ribbons

Cat Presents Open

Giving gifts this time of year is a wonderful tradition and can show our family and friends how much we love them. Keep an eye out, though, when wrapping presents as you do not want your pets to eat any of the wrapping paper, ribbons, or tissue paper you might use to make your gifts look gorgeous! These items, while not inherently toxic, can cause digestive issues for your pet and can make going to the bathroom a very unpleasant experience. Keep your wrapping station above where you pets can reach and make sure to clean up all extra bits of paper and ribbon that you cut to keep your pet safe. If you think your pet has ingested something they should not have, take them to your vet as soon as possible!

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree!

cat ornament

Christmas trees can bring light and warmth into your home during the holiday season but remember that they are also something large and strange to your pets. Try to place your tree in an area that your pet does not frequent or in a corner that your pet has not claimed as its own. Make sure that your Christmas tree has a sturdy base and will not fall over if your pet decides to try to ‘climb’ the tree (I’m looking at you kitties!). Many ornaments look like potential toys and your pet might try to play with them or eat them.  Try to keep ornaments above the level that your pet can reach so they aren’t tempted to pull them down.

If this is your first time having a Christmas tree with your pet, try to introduce them to the tree outside so they are not frightened by this beautiful addition to your home. You wouldn’t want Fido to think your tree was his new personal indoor bathroom.


Sitting by the warm fire place

Many homes in Houston have fire places and amazingly, some people actually use them! If you do have a fire place, make sure to keep it well maintained before use and when in use keep the screens shut. With a fire going, a pet might be tempted to get really really close to stay warm and you do not want them to get burned. Also, keep your wood pile covered if possible and pick up all wood chips that fall off of your fire logs. Some pets might see those little wood chips as a tasty snack and you do not want them to have to go to the emergency vet because they ate a pile of splinters.


When the clock strikes midnight, the sky glows bright!

When bringing in the New Year, fireworks are a must. Many cities’ New Year’s Eve celebrations will have a plethora of fireworks go off right at midnight. This can be stunning and gorgeous for you and your family but don’t forget about your pets.


Fireworks bring very loud and scary sounds which can scare even the well-trained pet. How can you keep your pets safe when the fireworks start?

First keep them inside! Many pets have been known to run when they hear loud noises and you do not want your pet getting lost. On that note, make sure they have proper identification on their collars just in case they do make a run for it. Having your pets micro-chipped will also help if your pet does happen to get lost. For your cats, the safest place to be during a fireworks show is in the bathroom – put their litter box and a bed with some blankets and cat-safe toys to give them a smaller area to relax in when the fireworks start. For dogs, if they are kennel trained, being in their kennel might be the most comfortable place for them to be during the fireworks show. Give them water and a bunch of dog-safe toys to play with while you and your family enjoy the show. If they are not kennel trained, keep them in a room with warm blankets and their favorite toys so they still feel comfort when those loud noises start.

We hope you follow all of these tips as well as those found in our Thanksgiving Day post found here: !


From all of us at the Houston SPCA, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Come down and see us sometime!

1 Comment

It’s Thanksgiving time! Here are some tips for keeping your holiday happy and pet-safe!

It’s that wonderful time of year again!

Thanksgiving Turkey Outfit

During Thanksgiving, we gather with family and friends to eat until we are stuffed, watch football on the big screen, and generally relax around the house while being thankful for what we have been given in life. During this time, however, do not forget about your furry friends – they need to be kept safe from a few things that you may not think about during the holiday season.

Here a few tips on how to keep your pets safe during the Thanksgiving holiday:

Keep an eye on the front and back doors


You might be hosting Thanksgiving this year or be traveling to a family or friend’s house to enjoy your meal. No matter who’s home it is, keep an eye on the front and back door if they have a pet. Many people have cats or dogs who may run outside the second they see the door open. A good solution is to keep your pet in a back room with some fun puzzle toys while everyone is coming in the house and then let them out to meet and greet your guests after everyone has arrived.

Try to keep your pets out of the kitchen

Counter Surfing Thanksgiving

When cooking for Thanksgiving there may be up to 10 dishes at a time in my house cooking on various stove burners, baking inside the oven, or being prepped on the counter. There will be food everywhere that will be tempting for your pet. There will also be potentially hot plates that your pets may not know could burn them. Try to keep your pets outside of the kitchen, maybe playing with your family or with a favorite toy, to ensure that they are not in danger of eating something they aren’t supposed to or touching a plate that is too hot.

Avoid giving them any turkey or turkey bones


Any type of poultry bone is a danger to your dog. Bones from chickens, turkeys, and other poultry can splinter in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines of a dog which can cause them major damage and an emergency trip to their veterinarian. You don’t have to let your dog miss out on the fun, though! Have a dog-safe treat ready to go when your dog comes running up to the Thanksgiving table. You can even make fall-themed dog treats using peanut butter or canned pumpkin which is good for their digestion in small quantities.

Do not give them any chocolate


If your family is like mine, the desserts will consist of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! However, chocolate is toxic to dogs and you do not want to be going on an emergency trip to your veterinarian during your Thanksgiving holiday! Keep the chocolate away from your dog and send it straight to me!

After everything is done – take out the trash!


After the meal is complete, the football game is over, and everyone is in a food coma – do not forget to put away your leftovers and take out the trash. That garbage is probably smelling amazing to your pets right now and they might just try to sneak in while you are taking a quick couch snooze to taste what is in that delightful bin. Do yourself and your pets a favor and take out the trash once you are done cleaning up the leftovers – you’ll save yourself a bunch of cleaning and keep your pets away from anything that may not be good for them to eat.

Have a safe and warm Thanksgiving from everyone here at the Houston SPCA!!