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Humane Society of Greater Dayton
Dec 7

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

SantaWithPetsThis time of year is magical for so many people. It is a time to come together with family and friends and celebrate togetherness and love. This holiday season we need to also keep our beloved furry friends in our minds and make sure we aren’t putting them into any harmful situations. To keep pets safe during the holiday season, here are a few tips we recommend so everyone rings in 2018 safe and healthy.

Safe Stocking Stuffers

We all want to spoil our pets during the holidays, but if you are getting ready to stuff your pet’s stocking make sure you are buying gifts that are safe for your pets. Dogs are known for ripping apart toys and even digesting the stuffing or smaller inner components. These items can become stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestines and cause problems for your pets. Try to stick with chew toys and treats that are indestructible for pets. Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy treats or Nylabones are great options for your dog. Also, avoid cat toys that have ribbons, yarns or other small loose parts that can be digested by your cat. If these items become stuck in your cat’s intestines there is only one way to remove them and that typically involves surgery. A safer option for your cat would be to surprise them with a ball that is large enough that they can’t swallow it or a toy filled with catnip.

Tree Tips

Many cats not only enjoying laying under a Christmas tree, but many like to climb up into it as well. Make sure your tree is properly anchored so it won’t tip or fall, causing injury to your pet. In addition, if you have a living tree, keep your pets away from the water at the base of the tree. This stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and if it is ingested by your pet it may result in diarrhea or nausea.

Nix the Tinsel

Let’s face it. If it is sparkly and looks like a ribbon your cat will want to play with it. This is why we recommend avoiding tinsel on your tree. Tinsel is easy for your cats to grab, play with and even eat. However, what seems like a “toy” to your cat can mean trouble down the road. If it is eaten, it can cause an obstruction to your cat’s digestive tract, which can lead to severe-vomiting, dehydration and possibly even surgery. If your cat does ingest tinsel, please do not try to remove it yourself. If it has become wrapped around anything internally, you pulling on it can cause more damage to your pet.

Family Feast

By now most of us know that items such as chocolate or any items sweetened with xylitol can be extremely toxic to our pets. However, don’t underestimate the lengths in which your pets will go to chomp down on these treats. Make sure to keep your pets away from unattended plates and keep lids on garbage cans. Also avoid giving fatty or spicy food to your pets and make sure they can’t get into any discarded turkey or chicken bones. These bones easily splinter and can potentially cause a choking hazard for your pet.

Stress-Free Option

If your pets can be on the shy or nervous side it may be good to place them in an isolated area while friends and family are over. A lot of noise and excitement can cause unnecessary stress to your pet and can make them very anxious. Simply place them in their own room away from the excitement of holiday parties and maybe even turn on a television or radio to drown out some of the other noises. Don’t forget to also place some food, water, a litter box and a cozy place to snuggle in the room for your pets. Filling it with familiar items such as their bed or favorite toys can also help ease their stress.

Distracting Decorations

From chewing on wires to puncturing batteries, some holiday decorations can harm  your pets. If bitten, live wires can give your pets a potentially lethal shock and punctured batteries can cause burns to your pet’s mouth and esophagus. In addition, do not leave candles unattended. Your pets may become intrigued by the flame of the fire and end up burning themselves or knocking the candle over.

Hazardous Plants

Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can be staples to holiday decorating, but they can also be very harmful to your pets. When ingested, holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Mistletoe also causes cardiovascular problems or gastrointestinal upset. Poinsettias can cause vomiting, diarrhea, blistering in the mouth and will make it difficult for your cat to breathe. In addition, there are also many varieties of lilies that can cause kidney failure if they are eaten by your pets. To keep these items as part of your holiday decorations, but also keep your pets safe, opt to use artificial versions of these plants.

From our Humane Society family to yours, we wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season and hope all of you will ring in 2018 with a furry friend curled up by your side!



Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded in 1902, it is the largest and most established no-kill animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937-268-PETS (7387) or visit

Nov 17

Keep Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

thanksgivingAlthough some have overlooked it, we at the Humane Society are excited to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday! Spending a day with our loved ones is something we cherish, but we want to encourage all of you to not overlook your pets on this day of thanks. Please keep your pets in mind especially when it comes to preparing your traditional Thanksgiving feast. Although some food items may be a staple to your family around the dinner table, they can be harmful to your pets. Here are a few things to keep in mind this Thanksgiving.

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Nov 10

START Program Sets Dogs Up for Success


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We all know and love the animals here at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. They all manage to steal the hearts of our volunteers and staff! Sadly though, many dogs at our shelter get overlooked when people walk through our shelter, which it turns means they stay at our shelter longer. It leaves us asking, “Why is such a good dog still here?”

Sometimes it can be a dog’s health, size, age, or even appearance that hinders its chance of getting adopted. Additionally, visitors take a quick average of 70 seconds to evaluate whether a dog will be a good fit for their family (Wells & Hepper, 2001). Between kennel presence and first impressions on the leash, that doesn’t give the energetic, untrained dog a great chance of letting their personality shine. In the end, these dogs often become “long-term residents” of the shelter, anxiously waiting for their home while trying not to succumb to shelter stress.

So how can you help? While volunteers that are part of the Canine Crew are essential for maintaining any level of training the dog may have, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton is grateful to work closely with the Dayton Dog Training Club to provide a higher-level program in turn making these overlooked dogs more adoptable. The Saved Trained Adopt Remain Together (S.T.A.R.T.) volunteers donate extra blocks of time to work specifically with dogs that are in need of behavior improvement. In addition to Wednesday evening courses, START volunteers practice with their assigned shelter dogs 2 to 3 times per week to continue progress of a training regime. 

When a dog is brought to a START class for the first time, they are met with treats of all types. The dog gets to pick which treat they fancy, and the trainer will use that for future motivation. The dog then gets to experience play time with several different toys and choose his favorite style of play to bond with the trainer. The assistant trainers of the club observe and evaluate the dog for any potential issues to be worked with, including marking, guarding, and potential dog fear/ aggression. During the trainer part of the course, the dog/ trainer pairs work on name recognition, focus, and various commands including “sit," “lie down," “wait," “come," and “leave it.” Darlene, the leader of the START Program creates a training plan for the dog and trainer to work through up until the dog’s adoption.

The trainers and dogs are assigned to each other based on abilities, personalities, and training styles. However, all trainers are taught to use positive reinforcement with the dogs. This style of training eliminates the use of dominance practices and creates a stress-free environment for the dog to learn by redirecting “bad” or “unwanted” behaviors into “good” or “positive” behaviors. 

The result of this training may be a reduction of stress in the dog’s life at the shelter, as well as a shorter stay. The dog learns to sit politely when pet, refrains from being “mouthy” with potential new families, and is able to focus on a visiting family—therefore increasing their chance of a connection. All in all, this means a shorter stay for the dog, and lesser chance of a returned adoption. While all adoptions are cheerful, it’s a special event when a START dog gets adopted.

Plus, to ensure the dog stays well-behaved after finding their forever home, the Dayton Dog Training Club generously offers two free training sessions to all people who adopt a dog from the START program. It's a win-win for the dogs and for the community!

Oct 23

Don't Be Scared, Keep Pets Safe this Halloween

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Between the costumes, decorations and flood of people in your neighborhood, Halloween can be a very scary time of year for both people and pets. Give your pets a treat by following these tricks to a safe and happy Halloween!

Identify Your Pets

Whether you are or aren’t planning to take your pets out this Halloween, please make sure all of your animals have proper identification. By having a collar, ID tags and microchip on each of your pets, you are potentially saving their life. With so much foot traffic this time of year even a housed pet can get out and without proper identification it will be more difficult for your pet to be returned to you quickly. You can stop by the Humane Society of Greater Dayton during our regular open hours and have your pets microchipped. It costs just $10 and takes just minutes to do. No appointments are required.

Choose Costumes Wisely

Although one of the safest bets for getting your pets in the Halloween spirit is by using a loosely tied bandana, many of us still enjoy dressing up our pets up in costumes. If a costume is in your pet’s future, choose one that is loose fitting and will not make it difficult for your pet to move around. If costumes are too tight or if they have too many bells and whistles, you pet could get tangled up or cause injury to him or herself while trying to get out of the outfit. Some pets really don’t like being dressed up. If your pet is one that doesn’t like costumes, don’t force them to wear something for your own amusement. This will just add stress and will leave you with a very unhappy animal.

Avoid the Candy

As much as your pets give you those puppy dog eyes or nudge you begging for treats, resist the urge to share your Halloween candy with them. Both chocolate and xylitol, a sweetener found in many candies, can be especially dangerous for your pets to eat. In addition, the sticks of lollipops or the wrappers of the candy can be choking hazards for your pet. If your pet ingests any of your candy, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Be Aware of Decorations

Holiday decorations such as carved pumpkins, electrical cords, plants or decorative corn should be kept away from your pets. Not only could a swinging tail or a curious cat knock over candles or lit Jack-O-Lanterns, but they could also chew on cords or eat plants that could be harmful to them. If you have decorations like these at your house, make sure to keep them out of reach of your pets, or secure them so that pets won’t get harmed. Instead of open flames, try using battery-powered candles or other decorations that can be more pet-friendly.

Keep Them Separated

Whether you are having an indoor bash or just greeting trick-or-treaters at your door, a rush of people at your home can be stressful to your pets. Keep your pet’s anxiety level to a minimum by placing your pet in a separate room or away from where all of the foot traffic occurs. If the noises continue to bother them, consider turning on some relaxing music so it can tune out some of the other chatter that comes along with the Halloween festivities. 

Mar 24

Why Rabbits Make Amazing Pets

HSGD-3144432As we get closer to Easter it is tempting to splurge on a cute and cuddly bunny as a gift for your children. We encourage all potential adopters to understand that rabbits require a commitment and can live for around 10 years when cared for properly. Don’t adopt a rabbit on a whim. Adopt a rabbit because you love rabbits and are willing to put in the commitment and love needed to give them a great forever home. If you can’t commit to a long-term pet, we recommend maybe giving your child a chocolate rabbit or a stuffed rabbit toy for Easter as an alternative. 

Many people don’t realize that the Humane Society of Greater Dayton works with all types of animals. In fact, we have a rabitat at our shelter with some amazing bunnies and rabbits up for adoption. Rabbits can make amazing pets and can be trained similar to cats. If you have never considered adopting a rabbit before, check out these great reasons why a rabbit could make a great pet for your family!

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