Happy Easter With Warnings For Pets

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Easter baskets and the accompanying goodies do provide some temptations and health risks for our pets. The Humane Society of the United States offers some tips for keeping our critters safe.

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Gibson wishes everyone a Happy Easter.

Easter lilies are highly toxic to pets and can be fatal if eaten. There is an entire list of plants that can cause problems for pets on www.hsus.org/pets. Check out this site for lots of interesting information.

Do not buy cute live bunnies, chicks, ducks or any other live animal for children at Easter time. They are adorable but they require a commitment that lasts for years and young children do not know how to handle these fragile babies.

Most all of us line Easter baskets with plastic grass. However, this is dangerous to animals if ingested. The grass can become twisted within a pet's intestines and can be fatal if not caught quickly enough. Candy wrappers, plastic eggs and small toy parts are also hazardous to pets. HSUS recommends using colorful tissue paper instead of the fake grass.

As at Christmas time, if there are lots of people and commotion around and noise, pets may need a little quiet time.

During the chaotic Easter egg hunt, put him or her in a kennel with a nice chew toy. Place a sheet over the kennel for added restfulness.

It is very important to keep pets out of Easter goodies. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate can be very toxic to both cats and dogs.

According to Adam Goldfarb of the HSUS, "Chocolates and candies that are high in sugar and caffeine are especially bad for our pets." Of course, these things are not particularly good for the children either, but then Easter comes but once a year.

Watch that pets do not get into food on the dinner table either. Rich food stolen from the table can make them sick and also, guests do not like seeing pets sneaking food.

A time for training

At holiday time and any time, we like to have our pets well behaved. But to achieve that goal, training is required. Good behavior is achieved by spending time with our pets and providing valuable exercise. New opportunities for training and exercise are listed below.

Agility is finally coming to our area. Jane Burlison will be holding agility classes beginning the end of April. Agility is great fun and terrific exercise. Dog and handler work together as a team maneuvering over, under, around and through a series of obstacles. There are jumps, tunnels, weave poles and more. You would be amazed at how much dogs love this. Do it for fun or you just might get really hooked and want to compete. There are competitions throughout the state all during the year. Basic obedience is helpful as the dog works off leash.

For more information, call Jane at (928) 468-0250 or e-mail her at jlb723@msn.com. Jane has taught and competed in agility for several years in the Valley.

Basic obedience classes will be offered at the Pine Arena beginning May 2.

Behavior modification and traditional obedience will focus on better every day behavior such as walking on a loose leash, calm trips to the vet or groomer, welcoming strangers and behaving well with other dogs. Individual needs will be addressed.

Classes will be held on Tuesday and Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. You pay for a set number of classes and attend when you can.

Dogs adopted from the Payson Humane Society can attend one free Saturday morning class. For more information, call Lori Chandler (928) 476-2633 or Margie Mansell at (602) 312-6992.

Spring is in the air. The weather is warming and the days are getting longer. Let's get out there and enjoy some new activities with our dogs.

Happy Easter.

Christy Powers is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1Box 210,Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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