Pets for the Holidays

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Pets for the Holidays

Now that the holidays are upon us, we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. With everything we have going on, it's easy to become too busy to really spend the quality time with our pets that we should. But if we instead look to include our pets in our holiday plans, we find that we are fortunate that Long Island provides a number of options to choose from.

One of the first that comes to my mind is pictures with Santa at Martha Clara Vineyards on Sunday, December 2nd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here, instead of crying babies, you'll find furry, tilted heads adorned in Santa hats sitting on Santa's lap. If you are looking to give back, all proceeds from this event go to benefit Kent Animal Shelter. For just a $10 dollar donation you will get the perfect picture of Buster with Santa, just in time to send out to your relatives for the Holidays. The pet-friendly tasting room will be open with live music, and Kent will have some of their adoptable dogs on-hand.

Thinking about adopting a pet for the holidays? If so, Doggie U K9 Academy in Bay Shore is hosting a free "Ask the Vet" seminar on Wednesday, December 5th at 7 p.m. Here, Dr. Michel A. Selmer, "The Caring Vet" of Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington Station, will be speaking about holistic and preventative veterinary medicine, pet nutrition, and pet safety tips for the holidays, as well as answering any questions from the audience.

Pet owners that are seeking information about alternative options for veterinary care or those who just want to know more about veterinary treatment today and what may or may not work best for their pet are encouraged to attend this event. This is a free event but a suggested donation for the local Town of Islip Animal Shelter is requested. Suggestions include dry dog and cat food, clean used-comforters, blankets and towels, durable pet toys, and old newspapers. This event is for humans only and to find out more you can contact Doggie U at (631) 968-7972 or doggieuk9.com.

Heading to a holiday party? You have a gift for the host(s) – but did you ever think about what that host would be really happy to get? In addition to that bottle of wine, don't forget a gift for their pets for the holidays, of course! I remember going to a holiday party one year with a bottle of wine in one hand and treats for their dog in the other. The host thought I was crazy bringing a gift for his dog, until Fido started to go after everyone else's food; those treats came in handy.

If you do decide to bring a gift, make sure you know if their dog has allergies or not. If you're not sure, buy treats that are free of corn, soy, and wheat as those are the most common ingredients dogs are allergic to. And if you're looking for a great holiday dog treat but you're not quite sure what to get, head to Just Dogs! Gourmet (justdogsgourmetny.com) in East Northport for a scrumptious selection of hand made dog treats, and your dog may just end up not wanting to leave the store. Life is Grruff based out of Center Moriches (lifeisgrruff.com) also offers some tasty options; my dog Max recommends the Barkscotti.

As with humans, if you are getting lots of treats for your pup, make sure you are still giving him or her plenty of exercise throughout the season. Suffolk County parks are all dog friendly, leashed of course, and there are many great hiking trails to take your dog for a much needed walk. Taking your dog for a long walk early in the day makes for a much more well-behaved dog when your holiday guests arrive.

When they do arrive, it's great to have a leash handy in case your pup gets over zealous and also instruct your guests not to feed the dog as he could get sick. A comfy, quiet place away from your party where your dog can retreat too is also recommended.

If you are going away for the holidays and need to hire a pet-sitter, In Home Pet Services (inhomepetservices.com) has a number of locations, or you can check the Long Island Pet Professionals website (longislandpetprofessionals.com) for one in your neighborhood. Just make sure to look sooner rather than later, as pet-sitters book up early!

On a final note, while some of us were lucky enough not to be affected by super-storm Sandy, many pet owners on the South Shore were. If you want to give a wonderful holiday pet gift, make a contribution, or help out in any way, please visit the Long Island Pet Professionals website to contact me and I will be sure to point you in the right direction.

So many amazing pet rescuers, pet professionals, and regular pet owners are helping displaced pet owners and their pets – it's is a fantastic thing to see. This recovery is going to be long term and many pets and their owners will need help for months to come. Some of the ways in which you can help are by volunteering at your local animal shelter, fostering a pet through the holidays, donating pet supplies, or making a monetary donation to a rescue group. Anything you can do to help make the holidays better for pet owners across our island is an added plus. So when you are out shopping (locally of course!) for a pet hostess gift, buy two and donate one. Happy Howlidays to all!

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