Gifts to avoid for pets (opinion) |

Gifts to avoid for pets (opinion)

Niki Congero
Tribune Opinion Columnist
Allori is 5 years old and weighs 9 pounds. She is house trained and walks nicely on her leash. She is a little shy of new people, but quickly climbs into her new friends’ laps. Allori is good with dogs and cats and would like a home with children over 12. Please come visit her at The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925. For Spay-Neuter services and other support, call the Lake Tahoe Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857.
Courtesy photo |

Goodies meant for humans are not good for pets. The holidays are packed with food, from large holiday dinners to cookies, candies and other treats. I know that you would never purposely give these kinds of treats to your dog, but some dogs (who are aiming to get a lump of coal in their stockings) are just too crafty for their own good. Keep chocolates and other candy (especially those containing the sugar substitute xylitol) well out of reach. While you’re at it, keep a tight rein on table scraps, too. Pancreatitis secondary to overindulging is a common problem around the holidays.

Chicken jerky treats are not a good choice. Whether they’re on their own or wrapped around a tasty rawhide bone, just leave them on the shelf. Chicken jerky treats are notorious for causing life-threatening kidney damage. While treats manufactured in China were originally to blame, illnesses have been reported due to consumption of jerky treats made here in the U.S., too. With hundreds of other treat options out there, you can easily find one that’s delicious and safe.

Keep away from inappropriate toys. I don’t want you to refrain from getting your pet toys. Pets love toys! I just want to make sure you’re getting the right toys for your pet. Many a vet has seen countless pets on the surgery table simply because of their toys, and I want you to avoid this problem.

The problem occurs when pets swallow their toys, either accidentally or on purpose. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, these parts and pieces can wreak havoc, causing obstruction that can eventually lead to death without intervention. This is especially true for cats who ingest string, ribbons or yarn.

Choose your pet toys wisely — if your lab’s first mission is to decapitate his new stuffed toy to get to the squeaker, don’t even give him the chance. There are plenty of nearly indestructible toys out there for him instead. Choose large toys for large dogs and leave small balls for the little guys.

Make this holiday season a great one for your whole family by thinking thoughtfully about what you get for your pets this year.


To take part in Lake Tahoe Humane Society’s winter raffle, make a donation online at or in person at our office. For every $10 donation you will receive a raffle ticket for a prize package that includes a two-night, three-day vacation rental provided by Craig Robinson of Keller Williams, two gondola passes, a $25 gift certificate from Heavenly Sports, four ski rentals or tunes from Powder House, a $25 gift certificate from California Burger Company, a $100 gift certificate and so much more.

Tahoe Pets 2016 Calendars have also arrived. Be sure to get yours before they are all gone. Come by the office at 884 Emerald Bay Road or order them online. They make fabulous gifts for friends and family.

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit SPCA, or

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